Dr. Markus Schmidt is founder and team leader of BIOFACTION KG, a research, technology assessment, science visualisation, and art-science company in Vienna, Austria. With an educational background in electronic engineering, biology and environmental risk assessment he carried out research on ethics and safety in a number of science and technology fields such as GM-crops, gene therapy, nanotechnology, converging technologies, and synthetic biology, authoring several peer-reviewed articles, editing a special issue and two books.
He coordinated various national and European projects at the intersection of science and society, e.g. SYNBIOSAFE, the first European project on safety and ethics of synthetic biology (2007-2008), COSY on communicating synthetic biology (2008-2009), CISYNBIO on the representation of synthetic biology in blockbuster movies (2009- 2012), or ST-FLOW on standardization of new-to-nature biological properties (2011-2015).
He served as an advisor to the European Group on Ethics (EGE) of the European Commission, the US Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, the J Craig Venter Institute, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Bioethics Council of the German Parliament, and the European Commission Scientific Committee on New and Emerging Environmental and Health Risks.
Together with Camillo Meinhart he produced also a number of award winning science documentary films.
He is also the producer of the BIO·FICTION Science Art Film Festival series (2011 and 2014) and created the art exhibition synth-ethic (2011) to explore novel and creative ideas and interpretations on the future of biotechnology.
Schmidt is co-founder of the Vienna based Do-it-yourself biology (DIYBio) group “Pavillon 35”.