The Centre for Integrated Research in Biosafety (INBI) aims to contribute to the increased understanding and more effective management of emerging biotechnologies. Our research is:
- Independent We are practiced in the techniques associated with recent and emerging biotechnologies, but we have no financial interest in their development or prohibition.
- Transdisciplinary INBI brings together scientists skilled in biotechnology research and safety assessment and social scientists with experience in the evaluation of the ethical, social, cultural and political impacts of novel technologies. This team is committed to working collaboratively across disciplinary boundaries and to modelling new forms of integrated research.
- Collaborative and International When conducting capacity-building activities in the developing world, we offer our own expertise while also working with the knowledge and specific needs of the country or region.
- Committed to Biosafety The Centre participates in the national biosafety framework of New Zealand and supports, to the degree that we are able, the research needs of citizens, civic leaders, NGOs, scientists and others who are participating in their national biosafety frameworks.
What do we do?
INBI is engaged in assessing whether and how various products of biotechnology may pose risks to humans and the wider environment. Our focus is biosafety (or, biosecurity as the term is most commonly used in New Zealand). We make the results of these assessments available freely to the public.
We are also involved in biosafety capacity-building in developing countries under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. This has taken the form of independent advice and courses in the assessment and evaluation of biotechnologies. INBI was a key partner in the international biosafety course held by the Norwegian Institute of Gene Ecology (GenØk), ‘Holistic Foundations for Assessment and Regulation of Genetic Engineering and Genetically Modified Organisms’.
We are a multidisciplinary team, with a wide range of professional backgrounds and diverse nationalities. Expertise in the Centre includes molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, post-genomics, political science, social studies of science and technology, participatory technology assessment, and the social dimensions of risk.
The Director of INBI is Professor Jack A. Heinemann, a professor of molecular genetics with interests in biosafety, risk assessment and education. The Deputy Director is Dr Joanna Goven, a social scientist with expertise in the areas of risk assessment and public participation.
International links include the University of Tromsø, Norway; University of León, Nicaragua; Institute for Applied Ecology (Öko-Institut), Germany; Island Knowledge Institute, Solomon Islands; and the French Institute for Agronomic Research (INRA), France.