Bayer wants to raise and uphold high bioethical standards throughout its operations – with the help of the Bioethics Council.’
Bayer has set up a Bioethics Council to provide a ‘broad independent perspective and guidance on current bioethical questions.’ The independent, external Council, comprised of experts from different academic disciplines from around the world, will provide oversight and guidance particularly with regard to the development of new biotechnological and AI-based solutions.
Bayer said that the Council will maintain regular dialogue with the Bayer leadership on the implementation and long-term development of Bayer’s Bioethics Policy. ‘We recognise the importance of asking the right questions to improve lives,’ the company said. ‘The independent Bayer Bioethics Council will advise on the ethical implications of biotech research across our divisions.’ The Bioethics Council will meet twice a year and its experts will also offer support on specific questions. The Council, which currently has ten members, has also been set up to safeguard the independence of its members, Bayer said. Current members are convened from universities and organisations in Uruguay, the US, UK, Kenya and Singapore.
‘Developing innovations in the life sciences, particularly in biotechnology, inevitably requires a thorough assessment of the ethical implications for people and the environment. Bayer wants to raise and uphold high bioethical standards throughout its operations – with the help of the Bioethics Council,’ said Dr Axel Trautwein, Head of Regulatory Science at Bayer Crop Science.
In a separate development, Bayer has announced the 2023 recipients of its Grants4Ag grants. The annual programme provides finance and mentorship to researchers in promising areas of sustainability and biotechnology. Financial awards ranging from €5,000 to €15,000 were awarded to 21 recipients, selected from more than 100 proposals submitted from around the world.
A 2022 recipient of a Grants4Ag grant; Professor Ji Zhou of the National Institute of Agricultural Botany in Cambridge, UK said that ‘Through the Grants4Ag program, not only have we had opportunities to engage with our Bayer contacts, but we also worked with Bayer’s global phenotyping and breeding teams to verify new ideas and set up new projects in areas such as AI-powered trait analysis and in-field root phenotyping.’
This year’s grants have gone to researchers covering one of three areas: Sustainability Traits, Plant Transformation and Gene Editing of Local Varieties. The projects span Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Ghana, Italy, Nigeria, the US, the UK.