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‘Global citizen deliberation’ paper published in 'Science'

We are proud to announce our paper on ‘Global citizen deliberation on genome editing’ has been published in one of the worlds’ leading publications Science.

Illustration by Alice Mollon

Lead author Centenary Professor John Dryzek, from the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at the University of Canberra along with 25 leading researchers from across the globe are calling for the creation of national and global “citizens’ assemblies”, made up of lay-people, tasked with considering the ethical and social impacts of this emerging science, in humans, animals and plants.

‘Just as human rights are generally recognized as a matter of global concern, so too should technologies which may impinge on the question of what it means to be human. Here we show how, as the global governance vacuum is filled, deliberation via a global citizens’ assembly should play a role, for legitimate and effective governance.’

Professor John Dryzek

The authors of the paper come from a broad range of disciplines, including governance, law, bioethics, genetics and science communication experts. Bringing together such a diverse range of experts from all over the world has been a huge achievement of the project.

"The project brings together a very large and growing international consortium of researchers across many disciplines, practitioners and decision makers from every populated continent. They are united by a strong belief that engaging the public in a substantive deliberative sense is not only possible, it is essential. This project leads the way in demonstrating how this can be done in both a deep deliberative sense, but also how this quality of engagement can be broadened to engage wider publics."

Professor Simon Niemeyer, Global Citizens' Assembly

Amongst the project partners is Missions Publiques, a French impact-driven company who has been supporting deliberative processes from local to global for over 20 years. They have recently co-implemented the French Citizens' Assembly on Climate and are now deploying the largest ever Citizens' Participation at Global Scale engaging citizens in 80 countries of the world on the key challenges surrounding the Future of the Internet.

"Our conviction is that the modes of governance of the 20th Century are not up to the task for this new era. They must evolve and adapt to the challenges we face today as Humanity. Our mission is to design and implement deliberative processes that feed policy making at global level because such processes are agile, rely on collective intelligence, are inclusive and highly legitimate. For us, the Global Citizens' Assembly is a new step in proving that citizens can and should be part of global decision making".

Antoine Vergne, Missions Publiques

The planned Global Citizens’ Assembly is to take place after several national versions have been conducted. Events in the US, UK, Australia and China are already planned and fully funded by organisations including the Kettering Foundation, National Institutes of Health, the Australian Government Medical Research Future Fund Genomics Health Futures Mission, and the Wellcome Genome Campus. Projects in Belgium, France, Germany, Brazil and South Africa are also well advanced.

Central to the design of the Global Citizens’ Assembly is the ambition to provoke a global conversation. Genepool Productions in association with December Media have developed a science documentary series, entitled ‘Mutant’, that will film the process and explore how citizens of the world weigh in on one of the most consequential and complicated issues of scientific ethics. SBS Australia and ARTE have come on board as broadcast partners of the documentary series.

"SBS are hugely excited by the potential of this new documentary series ‘Mutant’. It promises to be a unique social experiment that explores the intersection of science, ethics, diversity of opinion and how we make the big decisions about our future.”

Joseph Maxwell, Head of Documentaries, SBS

Funding for the global assembly is already well advanced, with funders including the Australian Research Council already on board. Our hope is that the paper in Science will lead to further interest.

‘'Science' is of course one of the world's two leading general scientific journals. I see getting our statement on the need for a global citizens' assembly published there as a huge validation of what we're trying to do, and I hope it helps unlock further intellectual and material support for the project.’

Professor John Dryzek

To read the Media Release please visit.

To read the paper in Science please visit.

Paper details: Global Citizen Deliberation on Genome Editing

Journal: Science


Authors: John S. Dryzek (1), Dianne Nicol (2), Simon Niemeyer (1), Sonya Pemberton (3), Nicole Curato (1), André Bächtiger (4), Philip Batterham (5), Bjørn Bedsted (6), Simon Burall (7), Michael Burgess (8), Gaetan Burgio (9), Yurij Castelfranchi (10), Hervé Chneiweiss (11), George Church (12), Merlin Crossley (13), Jantina de Vries (14), Mahmud Farooque (15), Marit Hammond (16), Baogang He (17), Ricardo Mendonça (10), Jennifer Merchant (18), Anna Middleton (19), John Rasko (20), Ine Van Hoyweghen (21), Antoine Vergne (22)


1 University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia

2 University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia

3 Genepool Productions, Melbourne, Australia

4 University of Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany

5 University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

6 Danish Board of Technology, Copenhagen, Denmark

7 Involve, London, UK

8 University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

9 Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

10 Federal University of of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil

11 Sorbonne Universite, Paris, France

12 Harvard University, Cambridge, USA

13 University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

14 University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

15 Arizona State University, Washington DC, USA

16 Keele University, Keele, UK

17 Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia

18 Universite Paris 2, Paris, France

19 Wellcome Genome Campus, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

20 Department of Cell and Molecular Rherapies, Prince Alfred Hospital; Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

21 KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

22 Missions Publique, Paris France

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