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

May 9, 2022

Russian aggression in Ukraine means “hunger will haunt the world.” Recent increases in our understanding of biology have given us the most powerful tools we’ve ever had to address the challenges we face. But they are impeded by regulatory policies driven by fear rather than informed by science and experience.

May 8, 2022

Wild salmon are in trouble worldwide. Many Pacific and Atlantic populations have disappeared or declined to record lows. But recent advances in biotechnology can play an important role in conserving wild salmon while simultaneously increasing the availability and quality of farmed salmon—an important and valued food for humans with enormous cultural significance.

March 11, 2022

There are multiple opportunities to advance solutions to major societal challenges by fostering transatlantic cooperation in biotech policy. But developing and applying them will require a return to science-based regulation that advances safety while enabling, not deterring innovation.

December 20, 2021

At the same time that biotechnology advances are reshaping tools for public health and medicine, we see no less momentous innovations in other fields. Almost no sector is untouched, but the greatest flowering to date has arguably been in agriculture.

November 29, 2021

Biotechnology cannot solve the whole climate problem on its own, but unlike nuclear fusion, which has been “30 years off” for the last 50 years, bioengineered innovations have already transformed agriculture. With gene-editing, doubling agricultural productivity by 2050 is well within reach.

November 15, 2021

The major limitation on what gene editing might accomplish would seem to be the power of human imagination.

November 5, 2021

The latest book in the heavily populated “Monsatan” genre apparently adds little or nothing to the many similar tomes that have gone before, and given its late arrival is of dubious relevance. But a review of it in The Washington Post perpetuates a host of imaginary monsters that deserve to rest in peace.

September 23, 2021

Regardless of President Rajapaksa’s motives, the logic of his decree banning imports of fertilizers and pesticides is flawed, and if not reversed will only deepen the misery of a population served by a battered economy and plagued by decades of bloody political unrest.

June 30, 2021

Eric Lander—geneticist, mathematician, president and founding director of the Broad Institute— took the helm on June 2 as director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). He is the first biologist to serve as presidential science advisor and takes a seat in the cabinet. Inasmuch as the 21st century is on course to flower as the Age of Biology, this is a welcome, if overdue development.

May 10, 2021

Those who really want to solve the problem should abandon ill-advised proposals like patent waivers and focus instead on cooperative solutions to overcoming supply-chain constraints. The sooner that happens, the sooner we can all breathe freely again.

March 31, 2021

The Biden administration has a rare opportunity to accelerate agricultural innovation and spur broad and lasting economic growth by taking a handful of discrete regulatory actions that would update longstanding policy that has enjoyed strong bipartisan support.

January 28, 2021

We now have a new capability for vaccine design and manufacturing that is essentially modular, because we can now package an essentially infinite variety of mRNAs into liposomes—a delivery system as generic as a UPS truck.

Recent Events and Presentations

September 15, 2020

Join ITIF for a presentation of a new report on gene-edited solutions for climate change and a panel discussion on the implications of these technologies.

November 15, 2019

The Non-GMO Project label is now misleading consumers on more than 60,000 food items in U.S. grocery stores. Val Giddings tells the Food & Drug Law Institute it's time for FDA to enforce the law and puit an end to this illegal practice.

September 24, 2019

Val Giddings' presentation to the Breakthrough Institute at Ecomodernism 2019 explores research to improve the efficiency of photosynthesis and what this means for climate mitigation and the global economy.

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.