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22 October - 13 November
FoSS and ESRC logos

‘Should we create gene drive grey squirrels?’  A short film screening and panel discussion

My local area theme

What’s on offer?

Gene drive is a new and very powerful biotechnology that scientists hope will help solve some of the biggest biodiversity and conservation challenges facing society. Gene drive has the potential to change entire wild species. This power is what makes it so attractive and so controversial. UK scientists have proposed gene drive as a management tool to control grey squirrels in the UK. Grey squirrels are popular wild mammals in the UK, but they are labelled an invasive species. We draw on our social science research to show you the complexity of the problem of grey squirrel control and invite you to think about whether scientists should develop gene drive squirrels or not.

What’s it about?

This event is part of the ESRC Festival of social science and aims to kick-start a public discussion about the potential use of genetic engineering technologies to control wild species. The event consists of a 20-minute film screening, audience discussion with filmmakers and stakeholders, and informal drinks.

To see the film trailer, go to

Who’s leading the event?

The event will be led by Dr Sarah Hartley (Project PI at University of Exeter and film producer) and Tom Law (producer and director). 

Open to

The event is open to everyone

Of particular interest to

The event will be particularly appealing to those with a direct interest or stake in the issue of squirrel management, invasive species control, or gene drive, and of course to squirrel-lovers! It may also be of interest to people wanting to make their own research films so academic research can reach a wide audience.