GenØk is a non-commercial foundation that conducts research on environmental, health and social consequences of biotechnologies and contributes science-based advice to national and international authorities. VIRI leader, Dr. Fern Wickson is a Senior Scientist and Research Leader at GenØk Centre for Biosafety in Tromsø, Norway, where she coordinates the transdisciplinary collaborative for Responsible and Sustainable Biotechnoscience (RootS). With a PhD in biology and political science, she performs transdisciplinary research that specifically aims to advance ecological ethics, sustainable agriculture, responsible innovation and resilient socio-ecological futures. Dr. Wickson is an expert member of the Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board and a past President of the international Society for the Study of New and Emerging Technologies (S.Net). She leads the projects, “The Agri/Cultures Project: Operationalising Norway’s Gene technology Act and its Requirement for Social and Ethical Justifiability”, “Conserving the Genetic Biodiversity of Maize in Mexico: Understanding a complex problem and developing participatory solutions”. She and RI colleague at GenØk, Dr. Michael J. Bernstein, are partners in the Horizon 2020 project, “Excellence in science and innovation for Europe by adopting the concept of Responsible Research and Innovation.”

Dr. Fern Wickson is Senior Scientist/Research Leader at the GenØk Centre for Biosafety.

member since 2018

Selected RRI Publications

van Hove, L. and Wickson, F. (2017). “Responsible Research Is Not Good Science: Divergences Inhibiting the Enactment of RRI in Nanosafety“, Nanoethics published online 21 September 2017. DOI 10.1007/s11569-017-0306-5

Wickson, F., Preston, C., Binimelis, R., Herrero, A., Hartley, S., Wynberg, R., and Wynne, B. (2017). “Addressing socio-economic and ethical considerations in biotechnology governance: The potential of a new politics of care” Food Ethics. DOI 10.1007/s41055-017-0014-4 (open access)


Hartley, S., Gillund, F., van Hove, L. and Wickson, F. (2016). “Essential Features of Responsible Governance of Agricultural Biotechnology“, PLoS Biology 14(5): e1002453. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1002453

Bernstein, M.J., Reifschneider, K., Bennett, I. and Wetmore, J.M. (2016). “Science Outside the Lab: Helping Graduate Students in Science and Engineering Understand the Complexities of Science Policy“, Science and Engineering Ethics. DOI 10.1007/s11948-016-9818-6.


Foley, R.W., Bernstein, M.J., and Wiek, A. (2016). “Towards an alignment of activities, aspirations and stakeholders for responsible innovation“, Journal of Responsible Innovation. DOI: 10.1080/23299460.2016.1257380.


Wickson, F. And Carew, A.L. (2014) “Quality criteria and indicators for responsible research and innovation: learning from transdisciplinarity” Journal of Responsible Innovation 1(3): 254-273


Wickson, F. and Forsberg, E-M. (2014) “Standardising Responsibility? The Significance of Interstitial Spaces” Science and Engineering Ethics DOI 10.1007/s11948-014-9602-4

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Hosted by the School for the Future of Innovation in Society

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VIRI is supported by the National Science Foundation under collective agreement #1257246