Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

January 28, 2004

Biomedical scientist appointed to prestigious international forum

A University of Guelph professor has been named a scientific co-ordinator for the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a forum of 30 member countries that monitors economic trends and co-ordinates policy-making.

Allan King, Department of Biomedical Sciences, will assist the OECD with its quality of animal products and safety of food research program, which includes food-safety issues related to cloned animals and genetically-modified animals.

“The idea is to use a solid scientific base to address societal concerns about the new animal biotechnologies,” King said. “I’m interested in helping to make sure policies are based on science rather than perceptions or fears.”

Based in Paris, the OECD involves government, regulatory bodies, industry and scientific leaders, and is primarily known for its work in economic development. In the field of science and innovation, where King is involved, the agency examines ways that science, technology, innovation and education can contribute to sustainable economic development.

King’s position involves facilitating discussion through conferences, which later form the basis for policy recommendations related to innovation, sustainable agriculture or bioresource management. He is also responsible for reviewing applications for OECD fellowships that encourage researchers to build international research collaborations. He first became involved with the OECD in 1997 when he travelled to Finland as an OECD fellow to collaborate with colleagues on reproductive biotechnology.

For King, the appeal of being involved in international debate about policy related to scientific issues is the opportunity to understand how research is conducted and perceived in different countries. He has observed differences in attitudes related to issues such as food safety and biotechnology in Canada, Sweden (where he obtained his PhD) and Finland. He has also been involved in consultations with regulators in Canada to provide input into the development of regulations and policies for biotechnology-derived animals.

“Certainly, there are many people here concerned about these agricultural issues, but in Europe, it has generated much more controversy and very lively discussion,” he said.

Prof. Allan King
Department of Biomedical Sciences
(519) 824-4120, Ext. 54927

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.

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