International Engagement: Secure Science, Technology, and Research - BMENA Case Studies
Date Published: 
19 February 2014

CSTSP has designed a set of 10 practical training exercises for life scientists throughout the broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA) region. These exercises are based on high quality, published life sciences research from BMENA region. They are freely available for use and we encourage you to integrate them into your training courses, educational curricula, and awareness-raising programs. 

Case Studies

The primary learning objectives of these exercises are for participants to: 

  • Develop the skills to think critically about risks and risk mitigation strategies needed in their own scientific environment;
  • Improve their own ability to identify risk management strategies and approaches that minimize identified risks and maintain the high-quality and utility of the scientific activity; and
  • Apply the risk analysis framework to their own or their peers’ scientific activities.

In each of these 10 exercises participants are encouraged to learn how best to identify, assess, manage, and communicate a wide range of risks during the design, conduct, and communication of research. For more information about the learning objectives, please click here. If you would like to receive a USB containing all of the Case Studies materials please feel free to contact CSTSP.

Background

For over five years, science and security experts, including CSTSP, have engaged with biological scientists in the broader Middle East and North African (BMENA) region on a variety of research-related risks. Current attempts to discuss bioethics, biosafety, and pathogen security concepts with BMENA scientists have been largely successful. BMENA scientists understand and recognize risks associated with accidental release or exposure of laboratory pathogens, disrespectful treatment of humans and animals in research, and inappropriate use of materials, data, or research results. However, the broader concepts associated with biosecurity-related risks are not as widely accepted, in part because of linguistic, cultural, and societal differences. Further, many of these scientists are asked to evaluate their own and their colleagues’ intentions when attempting to minimize the risk of deliberate misuse, theft, and accidental release. Identifying these risks can be difficult when few, if any, locally-relevant examples are provided to teach scientists what to look for during the design, conduct, and communication of research. 

To meet this need for examples that are relevant and based on high-quality research, CSTSP has designed these exercises with funding from the Biosecurity Engagement Program (BEP) of the Office of Cooperative Threat Reduction, Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, Department of State.

Contributors

These case studies were written at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Center for Science, Technology and Security Policy by Lindsey Marburger, Kimberly Schaub, Eleanor Celeste, Cristine Geers, and Kavita Berger.

Advice and contributions by Nisreen AlHmoud, Oussama benFradj, Gwenaële Coat, Irene Jilson, Abdulaziz Kaed, Rawan Khasawneh, and Fadia Maki.

French Translations by Oussama benFradj and Gwenaële Coat; Arabic translations by Nicholas Bashour, Abdulaziz Kaed and Rawan Khasawneh.