Foresight

The earlier the better

“Foresight” concerns the identification of topics that will be decisive for science and society in the future.

For this purpose, the SCNAT maintains scientific monitoring systems, such as for Swiss glaciers, and a Platform for socially relevant topics (“Platform Science and Policy”). At the same time, the Academy also observes the development of new technologies in the scientific domain, as for example synthetic biology, with the analysis of possible opportunities and risks being in the foreground. For that reason, the SCNAT maintains the exchange among the various scientific disciplines, allowing it to make available a broad-based foundation for foresight.

  • Events
  • News
  • Publications

Factsheet «New plant breeding techniques for Swiss agriculture – significant potential, uncertain future»
  • 2016
  • Forum for Genetic Research
  • Fact sheet

Factsheet «New plant breeding techniques for Swiss agriculture – significant potential, uncertain future»

The genetic makeup of plants can be modified precisely by means of new breeding techniques. Typically, these changes could also occur naturally and, in the process, no genetic material that is unrelated to the species remains in the plant. The techniques significantly broaden the possibilities for plant breeding, thereby potentially helping to make Swiss agriculture more environmentally friendly, economically viable and ultimately more sustainable.1 As some varieties developed by using the new breeding techniques already exist and new ones are expected to follow shortly, it is imperative to determine whether or not plants engineered by means of these new techniques are subject to the Gene Technology Act. From a natural scientific point of view, there is no reason for a strict regulation of plants bred in this fashion.
EASAC report "European space exploration: strategic considerations of human versus robotic exploration"
  • 2014
  • EASAC
  • Report

European space exploration: strategic considerations of human versus robotic exploration

A new report by the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) underlines the importance of European space research.
Foresight Report Hydrological Research in Switzerland
  • 2013
  • Swiss Hydrological Commission
  • Report

Foresight Report Hydrological Research in Switzerland

This report is an element in the process to identify future research challenges for hydrology in Switzerland. It has been accepted in the present form by the Swiss Hydrological Commission (CHy). CHy considers this report a suitable basis for the formulation of a roadmap for next steps in the process. Given the complexity of the topic, the diversity of approaches, the dynamics of hydrological research, and the limited resources for the editing of this report, CHy is aware that the content of the report may not be complete and balanced in all details.
EASAC report "Planting the future: opportunities and challenges for using crop genetic improvement technologies for sustainable agriculture"
  • 2013
  • EASAC
  • Report

Planting the future: opportunities and challenges for using crop genetic improvement technologies for sustainable agriculture

In previous work, the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) described the opportunities and challenges in using plant genetic resources in improved breeding approaches, for example by using marker-assisted selection of desired traits. In the present report, EASAC explores some of the issues associated with the genetic modification of crops, where the EU has fallen behind in its adoption of the technology, compared with many other regions of the world.
Kurzzusammenfassung: Synthetische Biologie - Von der Gentechnologie zur Synthetischen Biologie – neue Chancen, neue Risiken?
  • 2010
  • Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences
  • Forum for Genetic Research
  • Conference report

Synthetische Biologie

Zusammenfassung und Schlussfolgerungen einer gemeinsamen Tagung der Akademie der Naturwissenschaften Schweiz und der Schweizerischen Akademie der Technischen Wissenschaften vom
2. November 2010 in Bern
Teaser Image Synthetic Biology Portal

Synthetic Biology

Die Synthetische Biologie zielt darauf ab, biologische Systeme zu entwerfen, nachzubauen oder zu verändern. Dabei nutzt und verbindet sie Ansätze aus verschiedenen Disziplinen, insbesondere der Molekularbiologie und den Ingenieurwissenschaften. Die Synthetische Biologie arbeitet an neuen Lösungen für verschiedenste gesellschaftliche Herausforderungen, etwa in der Medizin, der Energiegewinnung oder der Nahrungsmittelproduktion. Dabei stellen sich ethische Fragen und Fragen zu Risiken und Sicherheit der neuen Technologie.
Teaser Image Green Genetic Engineering Portal

Green Genetic Engineering

Als “Grüne Gentechnik” bezeichnet man die Anwendung gentechnischer Verfahren in der Pflanzenzüchtung. Diese Methoden werden seit den 1980er Jahren angewandt und seit Mitte der 1990er Jahre werden gentechnisch veränderte Nutzpflanzen weltweit kommerziell angebaut. Die Anwendung dieser Technologie hat viele Fragen aufgeworfen: Wie sicher sind diese Pflanzen? Welche Vorteile könnten sie uns bringen? Wie sollen sie reguliert werden? Dieses Themenportal gibt einen Überblick über die wissenschaftlichen Erkenntnisse und offenen Fragen.