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.
ITIF Comments Regarding the Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology
Biotechnologies have seen remarkable, rapid advances and the discovery and development of powerful new techniques. But nothing has changed that presents new or unique hazards, and the same steps long required to streamline and improve relevant regulations remain valid, albeit even more urgent than before.
2022 Delivered a Tectonic Shift in Perceptions of Agricultural Biotech
Determined not to repeat with gene editing the disastrous, self-inflicted injuries from their misguided regulation of genetic engineering, European scientists have been increasingly vocal in recent years arguing for a different, science-based approach.
Biden’s Bioeconomy Executive Order Is a Good Idea: The Implementation Plan Needs Work
Biden's new executive order bears the hallmarks of somebody who has been around the block and noticed all the things bureaucracies can do to delay, disrupt, and derail a president’s policies whether through ineptitude, inertia, or mischievous intent.
How Agrigenomics Can Help Address Climate Change
On February 7–8 a small group of researchers met at the National Academy of Sciences for an informal workshop on how to demonstrate proof of concept for biotech solutions to climate change and start to flesh out plans to implement them at scale. Here’s what they proposed.
Comments to the European Commission Regarding Regulation of Plants Produced With “New Genomic Techniques”
The European Commission is considering how to regulate products derived from gene editing and has solicited public comment, but the Commission missing a golden opportunity—again.
Ukraine, Food Security, and Biotechnology
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.
Salmon Salvation? The Promise of Biotechnology in Aquatic Conservation Biology
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.
Prospects for Transatlantic Cooperation in Biotech Policy—A US Perspective
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.
The Year in Biotech: Rays of Hope in an Annus Horribilis
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.
Biotech Innovation: The Low-Hanging Fruit They Missed in Glasgow
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.
Gene Editing Promises to Make Human Industry Sustainable
The major limitation on what gene editing might accomplish would seem to be the power of human imagination.
A Book Reviewer Tried Telling Spooky Monsanto Stories for Halloween. He Sounded Foolish
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.
Recent Events and Presentations
The Journey to Sustainability: Managing a Transition For Food and Agricultural Sectors
Val Giddings presents on gene editing for climate change mitigation at an online sustainability webinar.
Gene Editing for the Climate: Biological Solutions for Curbing Greenhouse Emissions
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.
“GMO-Free” Claims and False and Misleading Food Labels—Why Is FDA AWOL?
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.
Tweaking Photosynthesis – Recent Advances & Implications
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.
Editing Genes & Genomes
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.
Innovation, Precaution and Benefit-Cost Analysis – What Went Wrong with GMOs?
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.
Gene Editing and GMOs - the Same or Different?
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.
GMO's Enriching Lives Around the World
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.
How Not To Do Science Communication – Lessons from the Front Lines
Val Giddings presented at the International Consortium on Applied Bioeconomy Research Conference at The World Bank in Washington, DC.
Genetic Engineering: The Future of Agriculture and Public Health
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.
Sugar, Food Safety, Sustainability & GMOs - Exploring a Complicated Landscape
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.
“GM” Food Labels, Gene Editing, & the Future of Agriculture
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.