On BioScience and Life and Such

My tribute to open access week

In Uncategorized on October 20, 2009 at 8:25 pm

post to news.thinkgene.com

Open Access (storefront)

Image by Gideon Burton via Flickr

I am all for open access, my own initiative being sciphu.com – still in early stages and with several unresolved issues. Issues that may prove to be altogether unresolvable, because of the extreme openness of the blog-publishing concept. Still, as  a tribute to the open access initiative and in the spirit of such extreme openness I am proposing another open access category: “open access job-applications”. Please find my first contribution below.

Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board
PO Box 522 Sentrum
0105 Oslo

Oslo 14/10-09

Nils Reinton

Open * application for your position as senior advisor for the Biotechnology Advisory Board
I hereby apply for the above position. My background is biochemistry / molecular biology. I earned my Ph.D. in 2000. I’m now working in diagnostics research and development, mainly using gene technology methods.
I write two blogs commenting on the use of biotechnology: one in Norwegian (genom.no) and one in English (BIOpinionated.com). I participate in forums that discuss biotechnology and biomedicine on a daily basis. I have previously written contributions to the debate in Norwegian newspapers (see attached CV for references). I am passionate about my discipline and nurture a strong desire for an advisory board with a proactive commitment.

I have the following two reasons for applying for the position:

1. Correcting past sins. Including i) the biotechnology advisory board’s predominantly negative attitude to GMOs and Biomedicine with populist statements about HPV vaccination as the most glaring example, ii) the boards warm support to the world’s strictest regulation of genetic tests and other medical applications of biotechnology wherein the definition of pharmacogenetics as  “presymptomatic testing” is the grossest example, and the mandatory stamp of  approval given to only very few selected  laboratories is a generally descriptive example of contributions to over-regulation, iii) the board’s support for a biobank law that has nearly eradicated clinical trials in a country that could have contributed enormously.

If hired, I will attempt correct this by involving qualified persons that can inform about the harmful effects to research and development, of such over-regulation.

2. Change the current technology-hostile attitude of the board. Our country is in a unique position to develop technologies for the future, we have money and we have human resources. We should also be very well positioned to address ethical issues related to biotechnology since we are a law-abiding people living in a well-functioning (and thoroughly regulated) democracy. Norway’s prerequisites should ignite a wholehearted investment in biotechnology to help solve medical, environmental and economic problems to the best of both Norwegians and the rest of the world. Instead, fear of technology has won out among politicians and bureaucrats, including the biotechnology advisory board. Combined with a precautionary approach that is more pronounced with us than any other country natural to compare to, we have been left behind in what could have been thriving industry oriented biological technology development.

One suggestion for improvement is tolisten to resourceful people with constructive ideas for the ethical use of biotechnology. Furthermore, I propose to include a technology-friendly mission statement that ensures that the biotechnology advisory board always keeps technology’s potential as a starting point rather than focusing on (real or non real) damaging  effects of biotechnology.

There are tremendous opportunities in biotechnology, and in recent years advances in the field have shown us that much of the fear of this technology have been exaggerated. A natural skepticism should be maintained, but a shift towards a basic positive attitude is needed.

I have professional skills, I am flexible, outgoing and self-sustained. I can contribute in a positive and challenging manner if I was offered this job.

Regardless of the application outcome I request that my appeal for a more technology friendly attitude be considered carefully.


Nils Reinton

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