Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment

Safety by Design

Date: 18 November 2020 - 20 November 2020
Location: Wageningen


Safe-by-design as a driver for innovation in Biotechnology This course aims to share the current status of Safe-by-Design concepts, and to train (future) scientists to assess all aspects of projects, from the project idea through the research phase to the final product, with relation to potential safety aspects.


Safety is an inherent concern in any setting or activity, being construction, manufacturing, industry, agriculture, environment or health. In the life sciences-based applications, safety is often seen as pertaining a specific process (eg. genetic manipulation in a laboratory) or final product (e.g. food nutrient or chemical). Yet, safety goes far beyond the technical execution of individual processes and products, or merely meeting regulatory requirements. Safey-by-design is an integrated, iterative and interdisciplinary concept that addresses safety issues already during the R&D and design phases, pertains the whole development process and value chain while considering its broader societal embedding. Hence, the consistent deployment of a broad Safe-by-Design strategy holds the potential to foster innovation in both traditional sectors and in emerging sciences, like Biotechnology.

Recent rapid developments in Biotechnology are possible with techniques that, for example, allow doing genetic engineering faster and with more precision in plants, animals or microbes. All these new developments yield new opportunities such as eradicating or treating diseases, breeding healthier livestock or crops, cleaning soils or producing biodegradable materials and valuable compounds. However, questions on new risks of biotechnology arise from these new opportunities. What are the possibilities and challenges offered by the Safe-by-Design approach for managing these issues? How can we apply this concept in our biotechnological projects?

“Safe-by-Design is a specific approach to technological design: it is an iterative, interactive, interdisciplinary process that includes safety – in addition to functionality – as one of the key requirements during the design and development process.” (Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management)

Target group

Basic knowledge of biological processes and their role in applications to health, food & feed, industry, agriculture or environment is welcome but not essential. The course is accessible to practitioners of both technical and social sciences, as well as policy and decision makers.

Intended credits0.9 ECTS
Course organisation   VLAG Graduate School     
More informationCourse website