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Genome Editing Public Engagement Synergy (GEPES)

The National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE), working in partnership with the Wellcome Genome Campus (WGC), has been funded by Wellcome to deliver the Genome Editing Public Engagement Synergy (GEPES) programme. The goal is to develop innovation and collective impact in public engagement within genome editing. We aim to bring 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.

The project aims to develop:

  • A comprehensive map highlighting existing public engagement activity
  • A framework to help elicit collective learning about public engagement with genome editing, including public attitudes to this area.
  • Recommendations for the future of public engagement with genome editing
  • Resources for those wanting to engage including toolkits, guides and case studies
  • Training modules to support researchers and public engagement professionals seeking to engage the public with genome editing

As a result of the project we hope to inspire new high quality activity, filling the gaps identified from the desk research.

Public engagement with genome editing

Genome editing (or gene 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.

Get involved

We invite you to get involved in the GEPES project. We are keen to hear from you whether you have lots of experience of public engagement with genome editing or related fields, or whether you are just beginning to think about this topic. Here’s how you can currently get involved.

  1. Call for evidence
    Do you have experience of delivering (or supporting others to deliver) public engagement in genome editing or related fields? Would you be happy to share your learning, and find out more about what others are doing? We are keen to hear from people working in this area to better understand the texture of the landscape. You might have a case study; a resource; an example of what hasn’t gone well and why; evaluation reports; audience research; a great image; or top tips from your own practice. All of this information is useful, so please share it with us using our ‘call for evidence’ form. In order for the evidence to be synthesised ahead of the event on 26th October, please submit by 9th October.
  2. 'What Works' events
    Join us at our first ‘What Works’ event on the 26th October at Wellcome, Euston Road, London. This event comprises two sessions. From 11am-1pm we invite anyone with an interest in this project to join us to find out more, and to contribute ideas as to how to ensure the project delivers effective outcomes. From 1pm-2pm there will be a networking lunch for participants of both sessions. The second session from 2pm-4pm is the first of a series of ‘What Works’ sessions which will be run over the next 10 months. Aimed specifically at people who have experience of engaging the public with genome editing (and related fields) this session will seek to bring people together to discuss their experiences around specific topics (e.g. working with A-level students; public dialogue), to discuss any current challenges, and, where possible, to synthesise their learning into a set of top tips or a resource to help others working to engage the public with genome editing. Please note – we will prioritise places at session 2, to those who have contributed to the call for evidence. Event registration has now closed. For more information, please contact stephanie.todd@uwe.ac.uk. This event is the first in a series of 'What Works' events, click here to find out more and get involved.
  3. Activity survey
    Are you currently planning to deliver a public engagement activity, or are you in delivery right now? If so we would like to hear from you. We are building a map of existing public engagement within genome editing to help us identity gaps and share practice. Please complete this short survey to capture any activities you are doing or planning.
  4. Keep in touch 
    Be part of our project JISCMAIL list where we invite participants to share resources, keep up to date with the project, and discuss planned engagement activities in this area. Contact stephanie.todd@uwe.ac.uk to join the GEPES network. 

Your expertise and knowledge is vital in progressing public engagement in this field. Thank you in advance for any information you choose to share as part of the call for evidence and/or activity survey.

If you feel there are any key people or organisations we should involve in the GEPES project, please email stephanie.todd@uwe.ac.uk to let us know.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss anything further please get in touch with Steph Todd (Project Officer) stephanie.todd@uwe.ac.uk

Image courtesy Wellcome Genome Campus - yourgenome.org