Robert M. Friedman, PhD

VP for Policy & University Relations


You are here


Robert Friedman is Vice President for Policy and University Relations at the J. Craig Venter Institute. Friedman directs JCVI's Policy Center, helps to facilitate JCVI’s affiliation with UC San Diego, and is also active in several projects ongoing in the Institute's Environmental Genomics Group. Prior to joining the Venter Institute, Friedman was Vice President for Research at The H. John Heinz Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment, a nonprofit policy research organization that brought together collaborators from government, industry, environmental organizations, and academia. Earlier, Friedman was a Senior Associate at the Office of Technology Assessment, U.S. Congress (OTA). For 16 years, he advised Congressional committees on issues involving environmental and natural resources policy.

Dr. Friedman received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in Ecological Systems Analysis, concentrating in ecology, environmental engineering, and systems analysis. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Research Priorities

As amply demonstrated throughout the 20th century, scientific and technological advancements frequently affect society in unintended ways. Hand-in-hand with its mission to advance the life sciences, JCVI is committed to understanding the implications of these advances for society.

The overarching goal of my research at JCVI’s Policy Center is to help decision makers understand and anticipate the impact of 21st century biology and biotechnologies, and where appropriate, devise policies to enhance positive and avoid negative societal outcomes.


Select Publications

Synthetic genomics | options for governance.
Biosecurity and bioterrorism : biodefense strategy, practice, and science. 2007-12-01; 5.4: 359-62.
PMID: 18081496
A Sanger/pyrosequencing hybrid approach for the generation of high-quality draft assemblies of marine microbial genomes.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2006-07-25; 103.30: 11240-5.
PMID: 16840556