Making Perfect Life: European Governance Challenges in 21st Century Bio-engineering (Study, Summary and Options Brief)

The report describes four fields of bio-engineering: engineering of living artefacts (chapter 2), engineering of the body (chapter 3), engineering of the brain (chapter 4), and engineering of intelligent artefacts (chapter 5). Each chapter describes the state of the art of these bio-engineering fields, and whether the concepts “biology becoming technology” and “technology becoming biology” are helpful in describing and understanding, from an engineering perspective, what is going on in each R&D terrain. Next, every chapter analyses to what extent the various research strands within each field of bio-engineering are stimulated by the European Commission, i.e., are part and parcel of the European Framework program. Finally, each chapter provides an overview of the social, ethical and legal questions that are raised by the various scientific and technological activities involved. The report’s final chapter discusses to what extent the trends “biology becoming technology” and vice versa capture many of the developments that are going on in the four bio-engineering fields we have mapped. The report also reflects on the social, ethical and legal issues that are raised by the two bioengineering megatrends that constitute a new technology wave.

External author 

Rinie van Est (Rathenau Instituut), Dirk Stemerding (Rathenau Instituut), Piret Kukk (Fraunhofer ISI), Bärbel Hüsing (Fraunhofer ISI), Ira van Keulen (Rathenau Instituut), Mirjam Schuijff (Rathenau Instituut), Knud Böhle (ITAS), Christopher Coenen (ITAS), Michael Decker (ITAS), Michael Rader (ITAS), Helge Torgersen (ITAS) and Markus Schmidt (Biofaction)