Bridging Science and Security for Biological Research
Date Published: 
20 February 2013

About the Project

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate (WMDD) has developed a robust biosecurity outreach and awareness program with the scientific community. To strengthen this relationship, the FBI WMD Directorate contracted with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to host a series of outreach and policy meetings with research, policy, and security stakeholders and summarize important lessons learned, challenges faced, and areas for improvement of local and national-level biosecurity initiatives. In collaboration with the Association of American Universities (AAU) and Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), AAAS and the FBI WMD Directorate hosted a biosecurity outreach meeting in February 2012, entitled Bridging Science and Security for Biological Research: A Dialogue between Universities and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The meeting provided opportunities for academic scientists and research administrators to build trust and enhance their relationship with the security community, with the mutual goal of jointly addressing the challenges of mitigating biosafety and biosecurity risks. One of the key findings was:

  • Active communication between universities and [the] FBI could help maintain the United States¬†competitive advantage in research and education by helping to mitigate potential domestic and national security risks.

The second meeting, which was held in September 2012, built on this finding by providing the opportunity for scientists and research administrators to share best practices and lessons learned about the review and oversight of dual use life sciences research with each other and with the security and policy-making communities.

The third meeting, which was held in February 2013, focused on critical issues resulting from foreign scientists studying or working in the U.S., international collaboration, and U.S. scientists working in foreign countries.