GMO ERA Project members have developed scientific methodologies
for environmental risk assessment of GM crops during Phase I of the project.
The scientific scope of the methodologies is divided into five sections
that address the concerns about environmental risks. During Phase II,
members of the project developed teaching tools for an
advanced course on the project methodologies. These teaching tools are
being used by the regional Expert
Teaching Teams (ETTs) to teach advanced courses. Members
of the Brazil ETT have already used the tools to teach a course at University
of Viçosa, Brazil.
Overview of the course modules:
Whom do the courses teach?
The course material is designed for use in an advanced course for scientists
with an environmental, ecological or biological background, such as research
scientists, graduate students, teachers, and regulators with a science
background. The material can be adapted in intensity and length for different
How will the courses be taught?
The course starts with an introduction to principles of risk assessment
and management, which defines key terms and provides a risk assessment
model. The three modules (non-target, gene flow and resistance) each consist
of ten teaching sessions, with each session taught through a mixture of
lecture, small group exercises and discussion, and each session building
on the findings of the previous session. The teaching approach is based
on participatory and experiential learning, involving small group activities
dealing with concrete, applied scientific problems. Each course module
can be taught separately, or together in a series.
What will participants learn?
Topics covered in each course include information management, how to find,
use and interpret existing information relevant to risk assessment, and
how to identify and address need-to-know gaps in information. Participants
are given practical guidance on how to relate endpoints of risk assessments
to conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.
Who teaches the courses?
The courses are taught by regional Expert Teaching Teams (ETTs), which
are now being developed in Brazil and Vietnam, with plans for expansion
to other areas. The teams have applied their own expertise to adapt the
methodologies to the regional situation, and the courses are taught in
local languages. The course is also designed to prepare participants to
become trainers themselves on methods of environmental risk assessment,
thus expanding the pool of teachers and forming regional centers of expertise.
Malvaceae flower, Brazil
Cotton flower, Brazil