Val Giddings

Val Giddings
Senior Fellow
Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

L. Val Giddings is a senior fellow at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF).

Giddings joined ITIF after nearly three decades of experience in science and regulatory policy relating to biotechnology innovations in agriculture and biomedicine. He works with ITIF to bring intellectual leadership to the examination of the constraints inhibiting innovations in these areas and devising remedies to those constraints.

Giddings is also president and CEO of PrometheusAB, Inc., providing consulting services in regulatory compliance, media, and strategic planning to governments, multilateral organizations, and industry clients in the United States and around the world. Before founding PrometheusAB, he served for eight years as vice president for food and agriculture at the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO). At BIO, Giddings built a highly regarded program representing global biotech companies in policy, regulation, media, and international affairs. Before joining BIO, he spent eight years with the biotech products regulatory division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). While with APHIS, he was international team leader and branch chief for science and policy coordination. During this time, he gained substantial international experience, serving on the U.S. delegations to negotiate the biodiversity treaty and to the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

Giddings arrived in Washington in 1984 to join the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, where he worked on studies related to biotechnology, the environment, and regulatory policy. He has also served as expert consultant to the United Nations Environment Programme, the World Bank, USDA, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and numerous companies, organizations, and governments around the world.

Giddings received his Ph.D. in genetics and evolutionary biology from the University of Hawaii in 1980.

Recent Publications

April 8, 2019

Scott Gottlieb has stepped down as FDA Commissioner. Val Giddings evaluates his legacy for the Innovation Files.

April 5, 2019

Val Giddings examines the recent jury verdicts for plaintiffs claiming their cancers were caused by the world's most widely used weedkiller, glyphosate. Scientists and regulators around the world claim it's safe - why have these juries disagreed?

January 7, 2019

A brief recap of some of the biggest developments and surprises in agricultural biotechnology innovation in 2018.

December 20, 2018

While many medical interventions—from vaccines, anesthesia, antibiotics, and even eyeglasses—have initially seemed like playing god, interventions to manipulate directly the heritable genetic endowment fundamental not only to what makes us human, but to what makes each of us unique, had never been seen before.

December 20, 2018

In this running compilation Val Giddings brings together on Medium a timeline of significant historical and recent developments in gene editing.

December 19, 2018

In this Medium post, Val Giddings tracks the misguided saga of the first CRISPR babies, produced by rogue Chinese scientist He Jianki, revealed in November, 2018.

June 18, 2018

Val Giddings explains gene editing & GMOs, and shines a light on anti biotech campaigners' misguided efforts to stigmatize them in Innovation Files.

April 3, 2018

USDA has announced they will not regulate products of gene editing if they could also be produced by conventional breeding. This makes sense but doesn't go far enough writes Val Giddings in Innovation Files.

March 21, 2018

GMOs can save civilization by addressing the major challenges of food security, carbon emissions, and environmental stewardship in a way that benefits farmers, consumers, and biodiversity writes Val Giddings in Innovation Files.

April 3, 2017

Fears of new discoveries have led to calls for “precautionary” regulation, which risks stifling agricultural innovation without any showing of need or benefit. There is a better way. The time is long past due for significant regulatory rollback.

March 10, 2017

Regulatory agencies face an avalanche of innovative products, but they are more ready than they think to evaluate them, writes Val Giddings in Innovation Files.

January 25, 2017

The food industry downplays setbacks, has failed to appreciate the nature of the opposition, and has failed to adequately defend genetically modified food against widespread Luddite fear mongering, write Val Giddings and Wayne Parrot in Forbes.

Recent Events and Presentations

March 21, 2019

In this briefing for congressional staff, Val Giddings introduces the topic of editing genes and genomes, touches on applications in both agriculture (animals and plants) and biomedicine, and then explores some of the far reaching policy implications.

March 14, 2019

Val Giddings' presentation on a panel at the Society for Benefit Cost Analysis meeting argues that regulatory disincentives to innovation in agricultural biotechnology can be reduced by a return to fundamental principals of risk assessment and management, as longstanding U.S. Policy requires.

June 29, 2018

Val Giddings gave a presentation at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez on 29 June 2018. The relationship between GMOs and gene editing was discussed and their role in agricultural innovation and sustainability explored.

June 28, 2018

Val Giddings delivered a review of the impacts of crops improved through biotechnology in a public talk to the faculty and staff of the University of Puerto Rico Medical Campus in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on 28 June 2018.

June 13, 2018

Val Giddings presented at the International Consortium on Applied Bioeconomy Research Conference at The World Bank in Washington, DC.

July 12, 2017

For years, researchers have been developing genetic-engineering techniques to combat some of our most critical global challenges. Join ITIF for a discussion of these technologies, their promising applications, and the societal as well as policy challenges and opportunities they present.

February 24, 2017

In a presentation to the 2017 U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Outlook Forum, Val Giddings presents on biotechnology and how it has delivered significant innovations to improve the economics and sustainability of sugar production through improved sugar beets, and is poised to do the same with sugar cane.

January 8, 2017

In a presentation to the State Agricultural & Rural Leaders Legislative Agriculture Chairs Summit in Baton Rouge, LA, Val Giddings argued that the GMO labeling controversy has been rendered largely moot with the passage in 2016 of a mandatory federal disclosure requirement, though controversies can be expected as regulations to implement the law are developed.

February 26, 2015

Val Giddings participated in the University of Maryland extension’s 2015 Agronomy Update.

November 18, 2014

Val Giddings discussed the importance of continued agricultural innovation at the 2014 North Carolina Agriculture & Biotechnology Summit.

October 8, 2013

There is significant misinformation and confusion about genetically modified foods (or GMOs), which now make up a major part of the American diet.

December 6, 2012

Val Giddings will present on at the Food Policy and Impact conference on the panel "GMO Labeling and Mandatory Disclosures–Where Is It Heading?"