CE38 - La Révolution numérique : rapports au savoir et à la culture

Designing Life. What cultural issues for ongoing biotechnologies? – ComIngGen

Submission summary

The ComIngGen project addresses knowledge, measurement of public opinion and communication tools regarding on-going biotechnologies (Genome Editing technologies such as CRISPR-Cas9 and New Plant Breeding Techniques). It has two main objectives. - Firstly, based on the idea that public opinion expresses a mixture of distrust and hopefulness, misunderstandings and occasionally unadvised rejection or, on the contrary, adoption of emerging biotechnologies without appropriate regulation, the project will characterize cognitive and cultural concerns that shape public opinion. It will develop a scientific policy approach based on innovating measurement tools for identifying key-conditions allowing the emergence of a public understanding of on-going research (PUR) based on scientific communication, scientific mediation and the inclusion of legal specialists. This entails exploring and mapping various communication strategies regarding the management of bio-engineering controversies including political demands, activist statements, as well as resources from specialized institutions (parliaments, museums, science centres, aesthetical exhibitions-bio-art) with the help of digital tools (big data-gathering methods).
- Secondly, the project will engage European and national governments, and cultural institutions in sustained debate on the complex governance of biological technologies, to develop successful strategies for communicating about new bio-engineered products, and to provide a better understanding of research to stakeholders and citizens. We will devise a range of policy recommendations for a more effective communication about unstable and provisional scientific data. Such communication relies on cultural innovations implying cutting-edge artistic and pedagogical mediations.
To fulfill these two objectives, ComIngGen will develop two methodologies.
- The first methodology will provide an analysis of public opinion about these on-going biotechnologies. Based on a massive web data gathering (Hyphe software), this method will allow us to document the huge diversity of communication and supports. This approach is a plea to consider the usefulness of Big Data gathering methods for analyzing the form and the strength of digital networks about emerging biotechnologies. This mapping completes the classic study of public opinion based on the questionnaire. It opens a new field to digital sciences.
- The second methodology will document risk perception and communication issues regarding those bio-technological products which break with traditional techniques of genetic modification (legal and scientific literature review), and propose various pedagogical supports jointly developed by researchers, legal specialists and museographers.
ComIngGen team will examine ways of linking digital mapping (expressed opinions), institutional communication strategies (OPECST, EPTA etc.) and cultural mediations (museums, science centers). The aim is to offer a range of varied answers (technical, scientific, legal and cultural) to public opinion issues, to devise communication strategies in the context of on-going controversies and to ensure the development of an timely understanding of synthetic biology by the general public.

Project coordination

Virginie Tournay (CEVIPOF - Centre de Recherches Politiques de Sciences Po)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


LESSEM Laboratoire sur les EcoSystèmes et les Sociétés en Montagne
PACTE Politiques publiques, action politique, territoires
CEVIPOF CEVIPOF - Centre de Recherches Politiques de Sciences Po

Help of the ANR 340,631 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2018 - 48 Months

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