It is my pleasure to invite you for the GRACE Final Conference on 9th-10th November 2015 in Potsdam, Germany (near Berlin). This conference will mark the end of GRACE, a research project funded by the European Commission’s 7th framework programme from 2012-2015.
GRACE pursues two key research objectives:
- Firstly, it aims to provide comprehensive reviews of the existing evidence on the health, environmental and socio-economic impacts of GM plants – considering both risks and possible benefits. GRACE reviews go beyond what has been done so far and are conducted in a highly systematic, transparent and inclusive way, based on concepts of systematic reviews and evidence maps. Both types of evidence synthesis tasks have been proposed or used as a valuable tool to support policy making in many areas including medicine, environmental studies, social studies, and - more recently - food safety. In the context of GMO risk research and risk assessment systematic evidence synthesis methods are fairly new and their potentials were investigated in the frame of the GRACE project.
- Secondly, GRACE evaluates animal feeding trials (90-day, 1-year) and alternative methods for use in GMO risk assessment. This is a particular topical issue as the need for mandatory animal feeding studies in GMO risk assessment in the European Union will be evaluated in 2016.
The conference will not only provide you with an overview of conclusions and recommendations drawn from the GRACE studies in the course of a multistep stakeholder engagement process (day 1), but will also offer opportunities to discuss the broader perspectives and future implications of GRACE and related research projects for the refinement of GMO impact assessment and policy making (day 2). In this context, we also want to address the role of society in fostering the design of research and innovation in order to better align them with the values, needs and expectations of society.
This conference is open to all stakeholders interested in GMO impact assessment. This includes but is not limited to GMO risk assessors, risk managers, policy makers as well as representatives of all relevant sectors (competent authorities, industry, professional organisations, civil society organisations and academia).
Specially, we would also like to invite media representatives to attend the conference and a press meeting on 10th November 2015 at 2.30 pm.
We are looking forward to welcome you in Potsdam.
Prof. Joachim Schiemann, GRACE project coordinator