Our Grants

A Mutually Responsive Approach to Developing Technologies That Alter Shared Ecosystems

Kevin Esvelt, PhD
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Grant Type Making a Difference
Grant Cycle fall 2016
Duration 2 years
Amount $175,000

An emerging dilemma in bioethics concerns novel genome editing technologies capable of altering ecosystems. Such interventions, deployed in the shared space of the environment, should only be initiated if acceptable to the communities involved. But what does “acceptable” entail? By what process should scientists and communities jointly make decisions from the earliest stages of project planning? Working in the context of a nascent community-guided project to combat Lyme disease on the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, this project will explore the reciprocity-based concept of “Responsive Science” as a model for community consent and decision-making during the development and real-world testing of novel ecological interventions.