About SwiftEST

SwiftEST is a consultancy specialising in environment, science and technology by working with a network of partners. Its track record includes work on sustainable agriculture and innovation including developments in modern biotechnology such as the safe use of GMOs, genome editing and other related technologies. It also has experience in the application of nanotechnologies as well as other emerging and converging technologies. It has a strong interest in solutions to the promotion of biodiversity.

SwiftEST combines professional skills in policy development and the risk management of emerging technologies in both the public and private sectors including (but not limited to) the following activities:

  • Policy development related to the responsible governance of biotechnology, nanotechnology and other emerging technologies
  • Preparation of policy reports and guidance from a regulatory and policy perspective
  • Risk assessment related to human health and environmental safety
  • Multidisciplinary and stakeholder engagement exercises
  • Advice on intergovernmental activities
  • Network-building
  • Project management

SwiftEST Founder & Director

Peter Kearns was a Principal Administrator at OECD for 29 years until his retirement in December 2019.

He worked in OECD’s Environment, Health and Safety Division which addresses issues related to the human health and environmental safety of chemicals, pesticides, nanotechnology and biotechnology.  During his 29 years at the OECD, he has focused on promoting international harmonisation in regulatory aspects of emerging and converging technologies.

Peter headed OECD’s Environmental Biosafety Programme since the early 1990s when he worked with member countries to establish OECD’s Working Group for the Harmonisation of Regulatory Oversight in Biotechnology. The main outputs of the Working Group are environmental consensus documents which assist members in the risk assessment of transgenic organisms intended for commercial agricultural applications.

He worked to establish OECD’s Programme on the Safety of Novel Foods and Feeds and the establishment of its Working Group.  The outputs of this Working Group are also consensus documents which are complementary to those of the environmental consensus documents, however, they focus on food/ feed safety issues relevant to risk assessment. 

Peter also managed OECD’s Nanosafety Programme and its Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials. He was also responsible for OECD’s programme on Chemical Accident Prevention, Preparedness and Response.  

During 2020-2021 he has worked primarily with an organisation, Re-Imagine Europa (RIE), which is a Brussels based ‘think tank’ founded by the former (late) French president, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing. He is working with RIE on a project on sustainable agriculture and innovation, which is currently developing policy options for genome editing in the EU.

Peter has a PhD in Genetics from the University of Cambridge, where he was a member of Darwin College. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society for Biology and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Entomology.  He is a visiting Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. A full list of publications is available on ResearchGate.