1 Risø National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy, Technical University of Denmark2 Department of Management Engineering, Technical University of Denmark
Rapid developments in, and the controversial nature of, biotechnology call for communication, networks, partnerships, and collaboration in research, not just among researchers but also between researchers and research “users” in industry, government, andelsewhere. Technological foresight appears to offer a coordinating method for developing and strengthening those linkages. To test this, a technological foresight study was performed on genetically modified (GM) crop technology in the Danish context. Thebackground to the study was the conflict and intense debate in Denmark over applications of gene technology, and especially over the deliberate release of GM crops. However, the current debate characteristically involves sharply opposed fronts. In it,stakeholders and experts on both side of the conflict advocate widely differing opinions. Without a proper, generally intelligible dialogue, the broader public audience finds it hard to comprehend this type of debate. The study pursues the notion thatpublic dialogue can act as a driver of future applications in the technological domain, specifically GM crops. The study concluded with a stakeholder workshop that revealed three key issues that might provide helpful starting points for a morefree-flowing and open-minded debate about the future of GM crops. The issues were those arising from the following statements: a broad perspective on risk is crucial; international regulation must make allowance for developing countries; a betterconfiguration of the risk debate is needed. These issues are discussed in more detail in the report, along with the foresight method we used to reveal these issues.