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Why Bio.Polis?

In classical Greece the polis evoked not only a physical place, but also the body of citizens central to policy debate. More than a center for discourse on leadership, innovation, and strategy, Bio.Polis aimed to foster a community committed to ensuring biological science and engineering contributes to more peaceful, prosperous and just societies.

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The Bio Policy & Leadership in Society Initiative (Bio.Polis) sought to co-develop technologies, policies, and leaders to guide the future of biological innovation in the public interest.

Learn more about our efforts here: Download the Bio.Polis Primer

Our Goals

  • Foster strategic thinking on how biological innovations could shape societies
  • Equip leaders to co-design technologies and policies to serve public interests
  • Enable diverse citizens to meaningfully engage with biological innovation 

Our Home

Bio.Polis was a of strategic initiatives of Stanford University's Department of Bioengineering, part of the School of Engineering and the School of Medicine, in partnership with the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), part of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI). We also received support from the Stanford Ethics, Society, & Technology (EST) Hub, part of the Stanford Presidential Initiative on Ethics & Technology.  

We also worked with several number of groups across the university, the local silicon valley innovation ecosystem, the country, and the globe.

Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

Center for International Security and Cooperation

CISAC is Stanford University’s hub for researchers tackling some of the world's most pressing security and international cooperation issues.  We are guided by our longstanding belief that a commitment to rigorous scholarship, openness to new ideas, and lively intellectual exchange can spur the creation and spread of knowledge to help build a safer world.

Schools of Engineering & Medicine

Department of Bioengineering

Measure, Model, Make. A rapidly growing and ever-evolving field of study, bioengineering combines engineering and the life sciences in ways that advance scientific discovery, healthcare and medicine, manufacturing, agriculture, education and policy.

Presidential Initiative on Ethics, Society and Technology

Ethics, Society, and Technology Hub

The mission of the EST Hub is to deepen Stanford’s strength in ethics and generate a fundamental shift in how faculty, staff, and students, whatever their disciplinary home, choice of major, and career pathway, think about our role as enablers and shapers of scientific discovery and technological change in society.

Our Focal Areas

Bio.Polis was an experimental and evolving initiative with focal areas shaped by our community. Some of the questions that drove our work included:

  • Bio.Futures: What are possible and preferred futures enabled by biological innovations? 
  • Bio.Strategy: How can we develop technologies, policies and practices to orient towards more peaceful, prosperous, sustainable and just biological futures? 
  • Bio.Citizenship: What forms of public participation might shape our shared biological futures and our conceptions of our lives, rights and responsibilities? 
  • Bio.Security: How might developments in biological science and technology shift the security landscape? 
  • Bio.Economy: How might we derive the most value from biological innovations?

Our Work

Explore past projects that are emblematic of our philosophy and approach.


Learn more about the people that made up our community.


Connect with our partners across Stanford and beyond the university.