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Peter Kearns Portrait

Peter Kearns was previously a Principal Administrator at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental organisation based in Paris, France. He worked in the Environment, Health and Safety Division which addresses, amongst other things, issues related to the safety of chemicals, pesticides and biotechnology.

He headed OECD’s biosafety programme and was responsible for OECD’s Working Group for the Harmonisation of Regulatory Oversight in Biotechnology and the Working Group for the Safety of Novel Foods and Feeds. Both programmes address the safety of products derived from transgenic organisms. The former focuses on environmental safety while the latter addresses food and feed safety issues. Both Working Groups comprise delegates nominated by OECD member governments together with other partner countries and stakeholders.

Peter also managed OECD’s Nanosafety Programme as well as its Programme on the Prevention, Preparedness and Response in relation to major chemical accidents.

Here is a recent example of Dr Kearns moderating a panel on the importance of gene editing in agriculture:

Peter holds a PhD in Genetics from the University of Cambridge, where he was a member of Darwin College. After a period of postdoctoral work at the Department of Genetics, Cambridge, he worked for the (then) UK Government Department for the Environment, where he was responsible for activities related to the regulation of GMOs and the relevant EU Directives. He is currently a Fellow of the Royal Society for Biology (UK) and a Visiting Fellow at the University of Edinburgh.