National Node of the BCH
Capacity Building Activities, Projects and Opportunities
Record information and status
Record ID
Date of creation
2003-10-28 21:00 UTC (dubravka.stepic@biodiv.org)
Date of last update
2011-02-01 21:17 UTC (stephane.bilodeau@cbd.int)
Date of publication
2011-02-01 21:17 UTC (stephane.bilodeau@cbd.int)

General information
Title of the initiative
BATS Biosafety and Sustainability Management Training Initiative
Contact person
Dr. Othmar Käppeli
Center for Biosafety and Transdisciplinary Sustainability Management (BATS)
Zentrum BATS
Clarastrasse 13
Switzerland, 4058
Phone:+41 61 690 9310/1
Fax:+41 61 690 9315
Email:kaeppeli@bats.ch, morgner@bats.ch
Url:BATS Centre: Biosafety and Sustainability
Beneficiary country(ies)
  • Albania
  • Bangladesh
  • Benin
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia (Plurinational State of)
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Bulgaria
  • Burkina Faso
  • Chad
  • Croatia
  • Ecuador
  • India
  • Madagascar
  • Mali
  • Mozambique
  • Nepal
  • Niger
  • Pakistan
  • Romania
  • Russian Federation
  • Rwanda
  • South Africa
  • Ukraine
  • United Republic of Tanzania
  • Viet Nam
  • Preferably focal countries of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
  • Serbia
Type of initiative
Main target group(s) / beneficiaries
  • Target group: Lecturers, University professors or individuals who are in a position to initiate a biosafety and sustainability management programme at an appropriate institution.
Start Date
Ending date
Donor(s) information
Agency(ies) or Organization(s) implementing or sponsoring the initiative
Center for Biosafety and Transdisciplinary Sustainability Management (BATS)
Agency BATS
Bleulerstr. 25
Switzerland, 8008
Phone:+41 76 494 57 18
Agency(ies) or Organization(s) implementing or sponsoring the initiative (Additional Information)
  • Organization: The Center for Biosafety and Transdisciplinary Sustainability Management (BATS)
  • Type of Organization: Non-Governmental Organization
Activity details
Description of the initiative
The goals of the Initiative will be realized by offering the students, first, placement for up to six months at different relevant institutions in Switzerland (e.g. Agency BATS, University Institutes, Universities of Applied Sciences, Federal offices), where they will get the theoretical background and find materials for preparing a teaching module. The placement at a particular institution shall not be less than one month. Secondly, the students will undertake a biosafety or sustainability management case study in their home country.

Education will principally be individually or in a group of maximum three persons. Didactic goals are to provide a theoretical background to the students and to bring them into a position to manage the problems encountered when setting up a course on biosafety and sustainability management at the respective home university. The main didactic features will be: individual learning and supervision; participation in the daily activities of the hosting institution, use of the Internet as information source; knowledge acquisition; teaching module formulation and realization in electronic format; possibility to participate in lectures or meetings; field project in country of origin; and internal or public presentations.

As a general principle, the content will be adapted to the needs of the participating countries. Topics to be covered include: General methodology of Risk management; Biological risks; Risk assessment of closed applications; Risk assessment of open applications; Food safety; Biodiversity monitoring; Ecobalancing; Sustainability assessment; Regulation, Project management; and Mediation in complex decision making processes with stakeholders.

Eligibility criteria/requirements:
The Initiative is open to individuals from relevant institutions who have the possibility and who are willing to offer biosafety and sustainability courses for life sciences students. Consequently the training is targeted at life sciences teaching staff actively involved in teaching. Life sciences students should get (i) a general competence and (ii) the possibility to specialize in biosafety and sustainability management.

Selection Criteria: The main criteria for selecting participants is the potential for a multiplier function, i.e. lecturers or university professors or individuals who are in a position to initiate a biosafety and sustainability management management programme at an appropriate institution. Other important criteria include the following: (1) The applicant must be citizen of a country that participates in the UNEP/GEF Global  Project on Development of Biosafety Frameworks; (2) The applicant should be anchored in an institution that allows biosafety and sustainability management education (e.g. university); (3) Participation should be endorsed by the UNEP/GEF National Executing Agency; (4) National or regional multiplier function should be guaranteed; and (5) Participants should preferentially be from a focal country of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

Application process: Contact the BATS Centre.
Objective and main expected outcomes or lesson learned
The overall objective of the initiative is to establish scientific expertise for biosafety and sustainability management in developing countries using a novel approach. Competence in handling biosafety issues and for making sustainability a guiding principle in technology policy formulation are essential for development projects and as the basis for complying with the Cartagena Protocol.

The ultimate goals of this capacity building initiative are:
1) To make individuals from developing countries competent in teaching biosafety and sustainability assessment.
2) To support participants in the development of teaching modules.
3) To establish a knowledge support network among the participants.
General thematic area(s)
  • Human resources capacity development and training
  • Scientific, technical and institutional collaboration at subregional, regional and international levels
Additional Information
Additional Information
The transfer of new technologies to developing countries is viewed as essential for the economic and social progress of these nations. This is especially the case for modern biotechnology since significant benefits in terms of food production, eradication of famine and malnutrition are predicted. It is the objective of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to allow the safe use of modern biotechnology, in particular the safe transfer of living modified organisms (LMOs) resulting from modern biotechnology that may have adverse effects on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity between countries which may have very different climatic, social and economic conditions. Accordingly, parties to the Protocol need to develop comprehensive frameworks for biosafety that also consider socio-economic aspects. Together with the resulting oversight duty this is a knowledge intensive responsibility.

In many cases developing countries lack the necessary expertise. This situation is not only unsatisfactory in terms of avoiding possible undesired technology developments but may also hinder technology transfer for beneficial applications. Biotechnology is highly regulated and protected by intellectual property rights. Unless technology transfer is accompanied by activities anticipating and timely adressing regulatory, organizational and other administrative (transsectoral) issues,  it may not be efficient and the main objective, to end up with practical applications that deal with actual needs of particular developing countries, may be missed. Therefore, it is a timely endeavor to start a capacity building initiative that aims at improving the current situation.

BATS was founded in 1993 by the Swiss National Science Foundation as a module of the Swiss Priority Programme Biotechnology. Since its foundation, the mission of the centre BATS has been to anticipate and address the implications of biotechnology on economy, ecology, and society. Specifically, the main activities of the centre BATS have been developing a biosafety research programme, conducting sustainability assessment studies for technology policy options, and collecting, administering, and communicating scientific knowledge on safety issues.  Besides being an instructor in the biosafety sub-module, BATS is the overall organizer and administrator of this training Initiative. Together with the sponsoring institutions, it also defines the final content of the programme, chooses the partners for the educational initiative and maintains the sustainability Internet site.