The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is planning to hold a workshop for government officials from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to learn about whole genome sequencing (WGS). Individuals interested in participating are invited to apply.
In May 2016, FAO organized a global technical meeting on the impact of WGS on food safety management, as well as published a technical paper to provide better understanding of the topic with concrete case studies, intended for LMIC food safety competent authorities. Additionally, an article was published in 2019 that summarized the potential barriers for LMICs to practically integrate WGS into their everyday food safety management.
However, the global COVID-19 pandemic suddenly and drastically changed the context of genomic sequencing and its usefulness to precisely detect, quantify, and analyze microorganisms. Many people, including the general public and policy makers, have become familiar with the terms such as “genome,” “PCR,” “variants,” “sequencing,” and more. Subsequently, FAO published an article outlining the potential opportunities of WGS for food safety in Food Safety Magazine.
FAO is organizing a workshop at the FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy on April 18–20, 2023, inviting government sector professionals from LMICs to discuss the real needs and practical applications of WGS technology to improve food safety. The workshop will be organized in-person only.
Applicants should be food safety officers and experts in the government sector. Participants from 10 to 12 LMICs will be selected. For each country, FAO asks that applications be completed in teams of three people. The desired profile of team members are: one senior government official who is part of decision-making for food safety policies, one technical specialist who would be involved in WGS, and one technical specialist who is currently tasked with analyzing laboratory data to provide scientific advice for food safety management and monitoring. FAO asks that applicants be fluent in English, as that is the language that will be spoken during the workshop.
Applications must be submitted by Friday, February 17, 2023.