Hochschulwettbewerb 2013


Press release 21.07.16

European students debate synthetic biology and neuroscience

In recent months around 1500 young people and over 100 scientists have met in parliaments across Europe to debate ‘The Future of the Human Being’. They discussed scientific topics and their societal impacts as part of the project ‘Debate Science! European Student Parliaments’.

Now it’s time for the grand final: a European Student Parliament from 25 – 27 July in Manchester. The highlight will be the handover of resolutions from the students to Robert-Jan Smits, Director-General Science and Innovation, European Commission, and Julie Ward, Member of the European Parliament, on 27 July 2016 at the Manchester Town Hall. The Final European Student Parliament is a satellite event of the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) 2016, a major conference that brings science and society together.

Students will discuss seven topics including synthetic biology, neuroscience and human optimization, e.g. through nanotechnology. The participants have been selected from local student parliaments that were held in 16 European cities. One of the parliament topics is synthetic biology – a technique that allows scientists to engineer mini-factories in microorganisms. Synthetic biology uses multiple genes to create complex molecules that are hard to extract from nature using yeast or bacteria.

While microbes have been used for years to make insulin for diabetics and rennet for cheese making, synthetic biology is opening up new possibilities. Imagine if we could make vanilla or malaria drugs in yeast? Would you eat ice cream made from synthetic biology vanilla? Is it more ethical to make drugs using engineered microbes than food products? Students will discuss these types of questions at the Final European Student Parliament and write resolutions about how our political system should react.

‘Debate Science! European Student Parliaments’ is a project by Wissenschaft im Dialog in Berlin organised with multiple European partners. A key goal of the project is to facilitate an exchange between young people and scientists focused on issues in science and society. The simulated parliament familiarises students with political decision making processes. The final event in Manchester is a satellite of ESOF 2016 and the project is funded by the Robert Bosch Stiftung and the Bayer Science and Education Foundation.

Contacts & images


Before the event: Elena Luehrs, Project Lead, +49 30 206 2295-65

On site: Arwen Cross, Project Manager, +49 1575 88 49 712

Livestream and images

Livestream of the debate
Images on Google Drive

Attend the event

Media are invited to attend the parliamentary debate and handover of resolutions in Manchester UK


09:45 – 16:30 on 27 July 2016
16:00 for the handover of resolutions


Council Chamber, Manchester Town Hall, Albert Square Enter via Lloyd Street

About Wissenschaft im Dialog

Wissenschaft im Dialog (WiD) aims to awaken and strengthen interest in science among people of every age and level of education. We achieve this by organising discussions, education projects for schools, exhibitions and competitions, all focused on science and research. We develop new formats for science communication and run events across Germany to reach diverse target groups. Our goal is for as many people as possible to be involved in discussions about research, including its controversial aspects. WiD is a non-profit organisation founded in 1999 by the major German science organisations on the initiative of the ‘Stifterverband für die deutsche Wissenschaft’. WiD also has several foundations as partners and receives significant support from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Wissenschaft im Dialog