PhD defence R. (Ruth) Mampuys

Promotor W. van der Burg
Prof.dr. F.W.A. Brom
Promotor L.M. Poort
Thursday 28 Jan 2021, 15:30 - 17:00
PhD defence
Senate Hall
Erasmus Building
Campus Woudestein
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On Thursday 28 January 2021, R. Mampuys will defend her PhD dissertation, entitled: ‘The Deadlock in European GM Crop Authorisations as a Wicked Problem by Design. A need for Repoliticisation of the Decision-making Process’.

The lack of political decision-making is an underexposed and avoided factor in the conflict over genetically modified (GM-) crops. Underexposed because stakeholders, policymakers, politicians, and academics keep pointing at scientific, regulatory and societal factors as the cause of the conflict and focus their mitigation strategies on those. Avoided because these factors seem to be used strategically to postpone and delay decision-making. This makes the conflict a ‘wicked problem by design’ instead of a ‘wicked problem by nature’.

Decision-making on GM crop authorisations in Europe is deadlocked because the voting procedures under comitology regulations systematically result in ‘no-opinion’, and the EC is reluctant to decide on the Member States (MS) behalf about such a contentious issue. Strategies to evade decision-making might be justified from the perspective of internal and external accountability, but they cannot be justified from the perspective of democratic accountability towards GMO proponents and opponents.

Therefore, a repoliticisation of the decision-making process about GM crop authorisations is needed to resolve the conflict. Questions about how safe is safe enough and when have societal discussions been deepened sufficiently, do not have ‘right’ answers, and therefore ultimately require political decision-making. The repetitive character of the discussion about GM crops provides an important indication that the transformation potential of opinions has been reached. Political decision-making is needed, despite scientific uncertainties and in the presence of diverging viewpoints. This implicates decision-making should take place in an environment, either at the subnational, national or EU level, that allows for political deliberation and decision-making.

Due to corona, the PhD defences do not take place publicly in the usual way in the Senate Hall or in the Professor Andries Querido Room. The candidates will defend their dissertation either in a small group or online.

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