ARC Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology

The Values Microbiome

28, Mar 2023

The Values Microbiome

A key point of difference in our Centre is the valuable work that our social scientists play in exploring synthetic biology from many angles – ethical, legal, psychological, societal.  Normally, they write academic papers. But an enteprising group of academics, led by Professor Wendy Rogers, decided to tell their findings another way. They wrote a script for an animation and managed the whole production.

“The Values Microbiome” tells the story of the values that inform the work of a group of scientists working on a multi-centre synthetic biology project. At a general level, values can be thought of as beliefs that guide or motivate people to think or act in particular ways. In the research context, values are relevant to choices about the overall goals of research, which specific projects to do, and why. Values are thoroughly woven through day to day activities, such as how to do research to ensure that it is rigorous. Personal values such as humility, resilience and collaboration are important in understanding what makes a good research leader or team member.

The animation describes three groups of values, identified by social scientists working in the Centre. These are represented by microbes living in a microbiome, as both values and microbes may flourish or fail to thrive depending on the environment. We hope this short film will stimulate talk about values and how to create a research environment where values can flourish.

Please share widely.The Values Microbiome video