Professional and Graduate-Level Programs on Dual Use Research and Biosecurity for Scientists Working in the Biological Sciences (2008)

Since 2001, there has been a flurry of activity in the United States and international community regarding oversight of dual use life sciences research. Dual use research is defined as beneficial research that may be directly misapplied for malicious purposes. The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity was established in 2004 to develop recommendations to the federal government for oversight and education of dual use research in the United States. The 2008 Biological Weapons Convention Meetings of Experts and State Parties addressed oversight, awareness and education of dual use research and codes of conduct to prevent misuse of advancing biotechnologies. The United Kingdom has recently started asking researchers seeking grants if they have considered the dual use implications of their research. The InterAcademy Panel issued a statement providing principles for codes of conduct. Researchers at the Australian National University have advocated mandatory education and training for scientists about the dual use dilemma. The Israeli government recently passed a law regarding dual use life sciences research. Most recently, the report of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, entitled World at Risk, calls for mandatory education of life scientists about dual use research and biosafety. The recommendations found in this AAAS workshop report could guide the activities and/or policies of the federal government, scientific organizations, research institutions, and the international community on educating those working in the biological sciences on dual use research.