Conversations on Science, Society and the Future of Gene Editing

June 20-21, 2019
Wageningen, The Netherlands

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Conversations on Science, Society & the Future of Gene Editing

CRISPRcon creates a unique forum in which a broad selection of diverse voices come together to discuss the future of CRISPR and related gene editing technologies across a variety of applications in agriculture, health, conservation and more.

CRISPRcon is a program of Keystone Policy Center. CRISPRcon 2019 will be hosted by Wageningen University and Research.

To view information from CRISPRcon 2018 in Boston, MA, click here.

To view information from CRISPRcon 2017 in Berkeley, CA, click here.


Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Commission

Melinda Belisle, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Guobin Cheng, Southeast University

J Patrick Clarke, European Disability Forum

Robert Deerenberg, Blue Genomics Chile

Louise O. Fresco, Wageningen University & Research

Steffi Friedrichs, AcumenIST

Dr. Hans-Juergen Fuelle, Novartis

Dr. Nitya Sambamurti Ghotge, Anthra

Alfred Grand, Organic Farmer

Jorn Hartman, Coeliac Youth of Europe

Kabasinguzi Betty Kaahwa, Small Business Owner

Patience Koku, Replenish Farms

Coenraad Krijger, International Union of Conservation of Nature

Shawna Lemke, Bayer Crop Science

Joris Lohman, Food Hub

Niels Louwaars, Plantum

Jeantine Lunshof, MIT Media Lab and University Medical Center Groningen

Gigi Manicad

Aditi Mankad, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)

An Michiels, Hazera

Leon Mol, Ahold Delhaize

Adam Rutherford, Geneticist, Writer, Broadcaster

Robert Smith, University of Edinburgh

Fr. Joseph Tham, Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University

Johan van Arendonk, Hendrix Genetics

John van der Oost, Wageningen University & Research

Robert van Gorcom, Wageningen Food Safety Research

Anita van Mil, Hopkins Van Mil

Additional speakers to be confirmed soon.


  • 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; reception and side events to follow

  • Panel Discussion: Personal Reflections: The Promise and Perils of Gene Editing CRISPR and other gene editing technologies pose sweeping implications for our food, health and ecosystems. As we contemplate the future of gene editing, how do societal narratives and personal stories of those most affected illuminate and shape critical conversations about what is at stake in using — and not using — these technologies?

  • Keynote: A Conversation on CRISPR Science and Policy This interview with two of our CRISPRcon hosts from the University of Wageningen — an award-winning CRISPR researcher and a global thought leader on agriculture and science policy — will explore current developments in the gene editing field, the role of scientists in societal debate, and the future of gene editing education and policy in the Netherlands and beyond.

  • Lightning Science Talks

  • Panel Discussion: CRISPR Cures: Gene Editing in Personal and Public Health Gene editing offers the potential to treat and prevent life-threatening diseases and afflictions. But these potential CRISPR ‘cures’ also open up questions about personal choice, privacy and even ‘playing God’ with both humans and other species. How could gene editing be used for good in personal and public health — and when might it lead us astray?

  • Ideas Marketplace Participant-led roundtable conversations on gene editing topics across a variety of applications and issues.

  • Lightning Science Talks

  • Panel Discussion: The Evolution of Innovation: What Drives Societal Embrace or Rejection of Emerging Technologies? From vaccinations and automobiles to nuclear fission and the smartphone, history demonstrates that humans have complex reactions to and relationships with technology. What influences how societies view, value and engage with technological innovation? What does history teach us about the emergence of new technology and how should that shape our views on gene editing?

  • Lightning Science Talks

  • Panel Discussion: Growing for Good? Gene Editing and Agriculture Gene editing could control crop pests, improve animal welfare, enhance nutrition, increase yields and more. Acceptance of any agricultural application depends on real and perceived potential solutions and problems created or perpetuated by gene editing, including those related to social, economic and environmental outcomes. What are the right expectations for gene editing in agriculture? How can we ensure societal benefit?

  • Reception and Side Events Side events to be announced soon.

  • 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

  • Keynote: Adam Rutherford After earning a doctorate in genetics, Adam Rutherford spent 10 years as audio-visual editor for the journal Nature, and in 2013, he became host of the BBC Radio 4 weekly program "Inside Science." He has presented BBC television and radio documentaries on topics including genetics and human evolution, science and cinema, and scientific fraud. His latest book is "The Book of Humans," on nature's most paradoxical animal, and before that his best-seller "A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived" retold human history using genetics.

  • Lightning Science Talks

  • Panel Discussion: Double Helixes and the Circular Economy: Gene Editing, Sustainability, and the Environment CRISPR has a variety of potential environmental applications and implications related to agricultural production, ecosystem services, climate and energy, invasive species, and more. However, ethical questions, biosecurity concerns, and other uncertainties remain regarding gene editing and the environment. Will gene editing technologies help or hurt the environment? What are the potential risks and benefits of gene editing and its potential contributions to sustainability goals for land, water, wildlife, energy, and climate?

  • Lightning Science Talks

  • CRISPRcon Café Lunch discussions on critical questions and next steps for gene editing and society.

  • Panel Discussion: Gene Editing on the Global Stage: Considerations for Governance and Leadership The future of gene editing is guided both by formal governance structures and by the actions and interactions of institutions working across public and private sectors. Whether making decisions on investments in gene editing research, informing international guidelines, or setting policy and regulation, global leaders must consider a variety of legal, cultural, ethical, and economic factors. This panel will explore how such leaders think about their roles working at an international scale across countries and communities.



CRISPRcon 2019-Netherlands is being hosted by Wageningen University and Research. Programming will take place in Orion Building 103, Bronland 1, 6708 WH Wageningen, Netherlands.

Arriving by air:
The town of Wageningen is located approximately 90km from Amsterdam’s major international airport, Schiphol (AMS). Directions on reaching the Wageningen University campus from Schiphol Airport can be found at

Arriving by car or public transport:
The nearest train station is Ede-Wageningen, which connects to two bus lines offering stops on the Wageningen campus. For detailed instructions on arriving by bus or car, please visit


Lodging is limited in Wageningen; we recommend making your hotel or bed & breakfast reservations as soon as possible to ensure availability.

Recommended hotels within the province are:

Hotel Wolfheze (4-star hotel)
Wolfhezerweg 17, 6874 AA
Wolfheze, Netherlands
Telephone +31 26 333 7852

Hotel de Bilderberg (4-star hotel)
Utrechtseweg 261, 6862 AK
Oosterbeek, Netherlands
Telephone +31 26 3396354


Please contact Brianna Brumbaugh, Program Coordinator, if you have questions regarding lodging or travel logistics.
Email:, Phone: 1-202-618-6664


CRISPRcon is hosted by:

The event program is being developed by the Keystone Policy Center in partnership with Wageningen University and Research. Special thanks to Dirk Bosch, Katarina Cankar and Ernst van den Ende.

CRISPRcon’s multi-stakeholder advisory council guides CRISPRcon’s vision, mission, and implementation.  Click here to view the current advisory council.


CRISPRcon welcomes sponsorship from organizations, businesses, foundations, universities, NGOs, and others interested in supporting the CRISPRcon mission to create a unique forum of diverse perspectives on gene editing across a variety of applications. Funding supports program development and direct costs associated with the event including speaker support to enable diverse participation. CRISPRcon is a nonprofit event. Irrespective of funding source, Keystone Policy Center, a 501©3 nonprofit organization, is committed to independently managing CRISPRcon’s development in service to its mission. Keystone operates under a statement of independence to serve all of its project participants and does not advocate for any specific or general uses of CRISPR or other gene-editing technologies.

To view sponsors for our past events click here for CRISPRcon 2017 and CRISPRcon 2018. If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities, please contact:


For press inquiries concerning CRISPRcon, media access, and other questions, please contact:

CRISPRcon is a program of Keystone Policy Center. Keystone is a nationally recognized nonprofit working to bring diverse perspectives to bear in helping leaders, stakeholders, and communities reach common higher ground on society’s most challenging issues. Keystone manages overall development of CRISPRcon programming, planning, and fundraising. Keystone operates under a statement of independence to serve all of its project participants and does not take a position of advocacy on any specific or general use of CRISPR and other gene-editing technologies.

For more information about CRISPRcon, contact us below: