Throughout our project we addressed a variety of Human Practices issues and took into account each stakeholder’s knowledge, experience and opinion to direct our project design. All experimental decisions were guided by intense interactions with the public and important stakeholders interested in raising alcohol awareness. This has enabled the AlcoPatch to be refined, redesigned and progress in cohesion with the public needs and interests.
iGEM Human Practices Silver Criteria 2016:
"Demonstrate how your team has identified, investigated,and addressed ethics, sustainability, social justice, safety, security, and intellectual property rights issues in the context of your project. Your activity could center around education , public engagement , public policy issues, public perception, or other activities"
Education: Before we began our project we took part in British Science Week. We introduced school pupils to the concepts of synthetic biology, synthetic chemistry and conventional farming as three alternative methods of producing chemical compounds.
Public Engagement: Our team has attended an array of conferences engaging with a diverse range of audiences; British Science Week, Microbiology Society Annual Conference, European Science Open Forumand the iGEM UK Meet Up.We were able to gain feedback from academics, specialists, the general public, and other iGEM teams. Importantly, our project was featured twice by a local newspaper, Manchester Evening News, which allowed us to reach-out globally. Anna Russell, from Heart FM (a national Radio) contacted our team and discussed the possible applications of the AlcoPatch whilst on air, as people from all-over the UK had the chance to learn about the AlcoPatch.
Public Policy Issues:During the project we spoke with the major public services involved in developing alcohol awareness strategies, the National Health Service (NHS) and the Police. Through explaining and discussing our project with these representatives from the public sector, we learnt how our AlcoPatch would need to be designed to be beneficial to the local community. We raised the issue of patenting our project with an IP Attorney from Ward Hadaway, who directed us to a patent attorney from Venner Shipley. This gave us insight into the business-related policy aspects of the production of the AlcoPatch.
Public Perception:When we attended British Science Week, we wanted to gain further understanding of the public perception of synthetic biology. Before we embarked on our laboratory work we also created and published a survey. The survey received a total of 152 responses and showed us that the AlcoPatch would potentially be accepted by the public, if its uses were carefully communicated. As our project was featured by the Manchester Evening News, we received feedback from the public in the comments section. The criticisms received provided crucial insight into the public’s perception of the AlcoPatch. We spoke to a variety of stake-holders who also gave feedback from a range of potential user perspectives, from biosensor companies, such as FredSense and SCRAM systems, to networks of the biotech industries (IBCarb , NPronet and BioProNet), as well as a brewery (BrightSide Brewery).