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ABS awareness-raising at the research network level: the High Value Chemicals from Plants Network

Case study provided by:

Wendy Lawley
High Value Chemicals from Plants Network
University of York

‘High Value Chemicals from Plants’ (HVCfP) is one of thirteen Networks in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (NIBB), funded by the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), with over 650 members representing academic institutes, research organisations, small and medium-sized enterprises, international companies, government departments and NGOs.

A key aim of the HVCfP network is encouraging academic scientists to interact and collaborate with industry partners, to facilitate the transfer of innovations from the lab into the commercial environment. HVCfP was established just a few months before the Nagoya Protocol came into force. Awareness-raising began at the Network’s first scientific workshop in June 2014, via a presentation on the practical aspects and future impact of the Nagoya Protocol given by RBG Kew, followed by a presentation at the HVCfP annual meeting in June 2016 provided by the UK’s Competent National Authority, Regulatory Delivery, BEIS, on ABS implementation in the UK.

Network members were encouraged to submit questions raised by these presentations and this led to the development of a focussed one day workshop “Sharing nature’s genetic resources – implementing the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing” in January 2017 featuring input from a wide range of participants representing academia, industry, learned societies and special interest groups. At this workshop it was agreed that the Network would develop a suite of bespoke, practical training tools to appeal particularly to early career researchers. These were used for the first time at an informal and interactive training event “Utilising genetic resources in R&D” in July 2017 which included introductory talks, a live demo of the ABS clearing house and hypothetical case studies designed to explore the scope of EU Regulation 511/2014 and due diligence obligations.

HVCfP now offers a free, 3 hour interactive introduction to ABS legislation and users’ obligations for any member who wishes to host this session at their institution, as well as case-by-case support for members. It has published a range of resources that are available to view at https://hvcfp.net/network-toolkit/, including workshop slides, a guide to international, European and UK legislation, and a summary of the scope of the EU Regulation. The Network continues to look for ways to support members in meeting their ABS obligations and welcomes suggestions from others in the community.