Thesis subject

Responsible Potato Futures: analysing scenarios and visions for seed systems, food security, and genetic techniques

Dutch start-up Solynta developed a hybrid potato using a genetic technique that potentially changes the development and distribution system for new potato varieties. The new technology thus may have disruptive and controversial impacts. A project was launched to shed more light on responsible potato innovation through a dialogue between stakeholders from the sector, civil society, government organisations and knowledge institutions. The research consortium was created based on a joint initiative from Solynta and a multidisciplinary team of academic partners. The outcomes of this dialogue resulted in some distinct and seemingly incompatible views and scenarios. This thesis projects aims to evaluate these views and scenarios and investigate opportunities for complementarity, compromise and further collaboration.

The study will develop evaluative framework to assess the existing scenarios and views. Based on additional interviews and document analysis, a process scenario is developed that will facilitate a responsible transformation of the seed potato system. The study involves primarily qualitative methods.

For the study we are looking for a Master student interested in seed systems and responsible innovation from the programmes:; International Development Studies; Development and Rural Innovation; Communication, Health and Life Sciences or a student from Organic Agriculture or another Plant Science programme with relevant background in social science courses and qualitative research skills.