The National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) worked in partnership with the Wellcome Genome Campus, to deliver the Genome Editing Public Engagement Synergy (GEPES) programme. The goal was to develop innovation and collective impact in public engagement within genome editing. We brought together those with experience of engaging (or supporting others to engage) the public in genome editing and related fields, to synthesise learning, create tools to be shared, and to encourage high quality public engagement.
Public engagement and genome editing
Genome editing refers to the precise modification of a selected DNA sequence in a living cell. This area of research has potential for application in many areas of human, animal and environmental health. Alongside the prospective benefits of the technology, some applications bring significant ethical and societal concerns that need to be explored, and raise regulatory questions that need to be addressed. Given the transformative nature of this research, there are profound challenges in ensuring that the public are effectively engaged in both basic and clinical research, challenges which are made more urgent by the pace of discovery in this particular research area.
A comprehensive map
This map identified key research and public engagement themes covering: genome editing technologies, how those technologies are being used, research areas, and areas in which genome editing is thought to be leading to societal impact.
Developing a learning framework for reflecting on audiences and learning journeys
This draft framework captures the different insights of how publics engage with genome editing. It draws on a wide range of different professional communities (e.g. education; public dialogue; patient involvement etc.), sets out the touchpoints where people engage with genome editing and considers the motivations/stimuli that might take people to these touchpoints.
A draft framework for the evaluation of public engagement with genome editing
This draft framework proposes a set of methodologically sound questions that can be used by researchers and public engagement professionals to understand audience’s prior knowledge of genome editing/genomics; attitudes towards potential applications of technologies and attitudes towards potential research areas.
This guide was developed to help those engaging the public with geneome editing decide which common analogies for genome editing could be best suited to different activities. It does this by breaking down: the science the analogy is seeking to explain; the pros and the limitations of using this analogy; and helpful tips to put it into practice.
This guide pulls together a collection of resources that were suggested by researchers and other professionals working to engage the public with genome editing between September 2017 and November 2018. The document covers public engagement activities, public talks, seminars and film, online resources, courses and training, research and evaluation, all of which was shared with the GEPES team as we sought to develop a knowledge base for the project.
We developed two training modules
- Engaging with controversial areas of research: The aim is to develop confidence, skills and knowledge in engaging with controversial areas of research.
- Analogy training: The aim is for researchers to thoughtfully use analogies when engaging with the public. If you are interested in this course, please contact email@example.com.
For more information on training through the NCCPE, please visit our training page or feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org
As part of GEPES we convened an online international symposium in November 2018. The event explored, what we can learn from engagement in different contexts, in particular what are the challenges, what resources are being used, and what are the different purposes for public engagement. The linked event slides provide further information.
We have worked with the network to produce a small number of case studies to show public engagement with genome editing (or closely related areas of science) in practice. The case studies we selected highlight a diversity of different activities and are intended to inspire and share top tips with others.
The final report details the GEPES journey providing more nuanced detail of the development of the outputs.
This project is now completed. If you have any questions, you can get in contact with email@example.com