Svenja Augustin Svenja Augustin is a Ph.D. student researching developmental genetics at the Cluster of Excellence on Plant Sciences (CEPLAS) in Germany. She is interested in the political debates concerning the regulation of genome-edited crops in the EU and engages in various science communication formats. Svenja Augustin is a board member of the Eco-progressive network, an NGO promoting evidence-based approaches to increase sustainability in agriculture, and co-initiator of the ‘Give Genes A Chance’ campaign.


Key experiences from communicating the benefits of genome editing to German politicians


In 2018, the European Court of Justice ruled that genome-edited crops have to be regulated according to the genetic engineering act. Based on this ruling as well as the results of a study led by the EU Commission and published in 2021, the EU Commission started an initiative to reform the laws regulating crops varieties produced by certain novel genomic techniques (NGTs). This ongoing reform process has increased public as well as political interest in plant breeding and targeted mutagenesis using NGTs. Therefore, science communication on these topics is highly requested by politicians and necessary to enable information-based decision making by members of the European and national parliaments.

Germany is an important member state of the EU. Currently, the German government lacks a shared course of action for the upcoming legislative decisions concerning genome-edited crop varieties. As an early-career researcher and science communicator, I have participated in the debates involving various German parties and in my presentation, I will share key experiences from these discussions.