The project Engineering Life is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and was launched in October 2010. The project aims to reflect on the ethical, broader philosophical and theological relevance of the emerging field of synthetic biology and to analyse its opportunities and risks. Furthermore, it will assess whether the legal framework in Germany is able to deal adequately with the potential risks of synthetic biology.
The project is coordinated by the Institute of Ethics and History of Medicine at Freiburg University. Other ITAS project partners are the Centre for Biological Signalling Studies (BIOSS) at Freiburg University, the Faculty of Theology at Marburg University and Hanover Medical School.
Within the Engineering Life project, ITAS is responsible for one of five subprojects. In its subproject, ITAS will analyse and assess the potential social benefits and risks of synthetic biology (including environmental, health, safety, security and socioeconomic aspects) as well as the various expectations and visions shaping the field ('vision assessment') and its knowledge politics. The results of the subproject will be useful when it comes to governance of synthetic biology and will also help to deal with the field's ethical, legal and broader societal implications.