Postgraduate Studies in Biosafety in Plant Biotechnology

This international distance e-course is aimed at training scientists and law specialists in biosafety expertise and evaluation. The course offers a solid basis to set up and implement regulatory biosafety frameworks related to plant biotechnology, to assist in the legislation and interpretation of biosafety risk assessment, and to communicate to policymakers.

The course is interdisciplinary, in cooperation with the Faculty of Sciences, the Faculty of Political and Social sciences and the Faculty of Law and Criminology. It is an international programme organised in cooperation with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).
The objectives are to provide students with:
- expert information on current and potential future developments in biotechnology;
- expert information on national and international norms and regulations in biotechnology;
- advanced skills to conduct risk assessments;
- apply risk management in biotechnology;
- risk communication skills.

Organised through distance learning.


The programme includes an introductory section on plant biotechnology and its applications for agriculture and industry. The main core covers the basics of risk assessment and regulatory structures, food and feed safety assessment, and environmental safety assessment. An overview of national and international regulatory systems and risk assessment and applications is included. The final section deals with risk perception and communication.

At the end of the course participants will be able to conduct risk assessments and apply risk management options, while at the same time deal with public policy issues at the interface of science, government, industry, and civil society.

The course is given electronically through e-learning. Two on-campus periods are included: one in the beginning of the course at IPBO, Ghent University (BE) and one at the end. Evaluation is carried out throughout the year through interactive discussions, assignments, and written and oral exams during the second on campus session at the end of the course.


The certificate awarded is suitable for individuals engaged as biosafety professionals in government agencies or  industry. It is also tailored for individuals with an interest in public policy, legal and ethical aspects of biotechnology.