Applications for research releases

Deliberate release of GMOs for research purposes are authorised under Part B of the Deliberate Release into the Environment of GMOs Directive, 2001/18/EC amendment 2018/350. These are small scale releases carried out under tight control. Many research releases involve trials of GM crops in field plots but, increasingly, research releases can include medical trials of GM pharmaceuticals such as vaccines administered under controlled conditions in hospitals and clinics. Consents for releasing GMOs into the environment for research purposes are granted on a case by case basis by Scottish Ministers. A detailed risk assessment must be submitted to the GM Team at SASA, and is considered by ACRE (Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment).


Brief outline of application process for research releases:

  • Contact the GM Team at SASA to discuss the proposed submission & check the fee details.
  • Submit the dossier and payment to SASA.
  • Discuss any claims for confidential information prior to uploading to the public register (must be completed within 12 days of the submission of the application).
  • Under the guidance of SASA, submit newspaper advert to a relevant publication.
  • Public comments are welcome for 60 days after the submission of the application.
  • ACRE will meet to discuss the application and consider representations from the public. ACRE will provide final advice to Scottish Ministers.
  • Scottish Ministers will decide if the trial may proceed or not.

This is a brief outline of the process, for more detailed information please contact the GM Team at SASA.