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Genomics Forum · News

Synthetic Biology Democs game available to download



New public engagement kits for synthetic biology are available.


In 2007, the ESRC Genomics Forum received a small grant from the Scottish Government to undertake public engagement activities relating to synthetic biology, an emerging scientific discipline that is receiving considerable media and policy attention. We have used this grant to develop a version of Democs, a public dialogue tool.

Democs stands for ‘Deliberative Meetings Of Citizens.’ It is a card ‘game’ that allows a small group to find out about an issue, discuss it, seek common ground, and give their views. No prior knowledge of the issue is needed, and no ‘experts’ need be present to run the activity. Democs can also be used to feed into policy consultations – a version was specially developed for use in the 2003 ‘GM Nation’ debate.

Democs games are licensed under Creative Commons. You can download the cards, instructions and other components of the game below, or for a printed kit, please email Dr Christine Knight, project manager at the Genomics Forum, at christine.knight@ed.ac.uk (tel 0131 651 4743).

Instruction manual

Story cards

Information cards

Issue cards

Cluster cards Voting grid 1: Policy

Voting grid 2: Applications

Feedback form

Democs was devised by nef (the new economics foundation) in 2001. This Synthetic Biology Democs game was commissioned by the Genomics Forum, and funded by the Scottish Government with additional support from the Genomics Forum. The game was developed by independent consultant Dr Donald Bruce (Edinethics Ltd), in collaboration with Perry Walker (nef).