Nevertheless, the benefits of improving standardisation of biological systems are overwhelming and, in this framework, BioRoboost aims at:
(Re)definition of biology
WP1: Standards in biology, theory development. Biological metrology
WP1 aims at the identification and definition of the gaps and weaknesses of the standardization process, with the goal of proposing remediating strategies. This task with focus on reviewing the capability in common languages and tools (e.g. SBOL) and identifying opportunities where the development of new standards, descriptors and tools will facilitate development of the modelling field applied to SynBio.
WP2: Chassis in SynBio: theory, state of the art and development of a panel of standardized biological frames
While Escherichia coli has been the favourite workhorse for hosting synthetic constructs so far, its default genetic, metabolic and physiological casting fails to sustain the wide range of industrial and environmental applications envisioned for SynBio agents. In order to firmly stablish a small but yet relatively comprehensive set of chassis to be used in a much wider range of biotechnological applications, we will define, for the first time, a set of microbial chassis, taking profit of them being already shaped by natural selection to fit very particular environmental conditions.
WP3: Beyond bacteria: standards for yeast and mammalian systems
The application of SynBio to eukaryotic systems lags considerably behind that of bacterial. WP3 will follow WP1’s lead, but focusing on standardisation in eukaryotic and multi-compartmental systems. To constrain this WP, we shall focus on a fine-grain auditing of need in two specific chassis (Saccharomyces cerevisiae and CHO cells), before conducting course-grain scoping for multi-cellular systems.
WP4: The social infrastructures of standardisation
WP4 is the first of two interrelated work packages that employ social scientific research to further understand the place of standards, and standardized products and practices in different social systems, including the study of gender, ownership and responsibility dynamics. WP4 research will compile a mapping of the different communities involved in the making and using of a synthetic biology standard, and how those communities interact. It will do so using ethnographic observations of participant laboratories, and interviews with key figures in those labs. This WP will also identify and bring together appropriate analytic tools from fields like Science and Technology Studies (STS), which will serve the effort to explore the varied communities working with the standards under study.
WP5: Standards, ownership and reusability
WP5 builds on the conceptual work and mapping developed in WP4: it considers variability in SB’s standardization practices, to focus specifically on how standards may enable knowledge circulation and collaboration within and across synthetic biology communities and research groups. This WP will focus on shareability and reusability as key social and ethical aspects of standards and standardization. WP5 attends to the multiple communities and moral economies of synthetic biology (building on WP4), with a special focus on SBOL – the most comprehensive attempt at making synthetic biology shareable by standardizing it.
WP6: Towards biosafety and risk assessment solutions
In 2015, the EC’s Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) identified major gaps in knowledge to be considered for performing a reliable risk assessment in SynBio. The aim of this WP is to contribute to the closure of the research gap identified by SCENIHR by: (1) enhancing the interface between science, industry and risk assessment authorities; (2) fostering the incorporation of safety relevant data and information in SynBio standards; and (3) assessing biocontainment in a standardized versus a non-standardized scenario.
WP7: Dissemination and exploitations; policy analysis of biological standardization
The consortium will implement target-oriented measures for dissemination and valorization of the results, aiming to: (1) facilitate the gradual adoption of potential standards by the scientific community as well as by companies; (2) tackle the formal pipeline leading to the definition, development and adoption of standards by the Standards Development Organizations; and (3) address the educational community by producing a specialized educational kit for teachers and students on standards matters.
WP8: Project management
This WP aims at providing and ensuring an effective financial and management activities at the same time ensuring the smooth development of all aspects of the project.