"Journalistenkolleg" from CEPLAS and IPK


Researchers from CEPLAS and IPK, as well as other scientific experts, informed 14 journalists about the topic of green genetic engineering.

The topic of "green genetic engineering" has been the subject of much debate since the EU Commission presented a new EU genetic engineering legislation in July 2023. For this reason, the IPK Leibniz Institute and CEPLAS, in cooperation with the “Wissenschaftspressekonferenz”, held a “Journalistenkolleg” on this topic at the IPK in Gatersleben from 26 to 28 November.

14 journalists from the print and broadcasting sector attended the “Journalistenkolleg”. During presentations followed by discussions and guided tours of laboratories and greenhouses, the participants received information on the basics and application of green genetic engineering.

The importance of preserving biodiversity was visualised during a tour of the IPK's gene bank. The subsequent tour of the phenosphere illustrated how this diversity can be utilised. The methods for utilising these resources were then presented by CEPLAS members Peter Westhoff and Götz Hensel in their talks on classic genetic technologies and new genome techniques. Some examples of research areas in which these techniques are used were then presented by researchers from CEPLAS and IPK. Peter Westhoff spoke about the optimisation of photosynthesis and Alga Zuccaro about promising approaches in microbiome research.

In a second block, socio-economic, legal and ethical aspects of green genetic engineering were addressed. With Prof Kai Purnhagen from the University of Bayreuth for the regulatory aspects, Prof Alfons Ballmann from IAMO for the economic perspective, Prof Hans-Georg Dederer from the University of Passau for the political and legal classification, and Dr Stephan Schleissing from the LMU Munich for the ethical aspects, renowned experts were invited to answer all interested questions.

Finally, filmmaker Katja Herr, who recently made a film about the IPK for MDR, explained her journalistic experiences with the topic of "green genetic engineering".

On both days, the journalists had the opportunity to conduct one-to-one discussions or interviews with the researchers. Most of them used this opportunity to make recordings for podcasts or to obtain further information.

Organised jointly by CEPLAS and the IPK for the first time, the “Journalistenkolleg” not only provided an information platform for the journalists who attended, but also an intensive exchange between researchers and media representatives. All participants had plenty of opportunity for this not only during the discussions, but also during the breaks and joint meals.