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Synthetic biology is a rapidly developing new approach to biotechnology. Its main aim is to use engineering principles to create living organisms for human use. Societal implications have been a topic from the start, but major disagreements remain regarding the appropriate frameworks for the assessment and governance of synthetic biology.

The aim of this summer school has been to critically analyze different approaches to the evaluation of new techno-scientific areas, as exemplified by synthetic biology, with a particular emphasis on conceptual foundations.

The summer school brought together 18 young researchers from relevant fields of the social and natural sciences. Participants presented and discussed their own work in a genuinely interdisciplinary group together with some of the leading experts, including: Michael Bölker, Nediljko Budisa, Margret Engelhard, Ellen-Marie Forsberg, Christian Illies, Sheref Mansy, Georg Toepfer and Röbbe Wünschiers.

The summer school took place at the Center for Literary and Cultural Research Berlin. It included an excursion to Nediljko Budisa´s chemical synthetic biology laboratory at TU Berlin and closed with a public discussion on Friday, 19 September 2014.