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ABSA 1st Biosecurity Symposium Keynote

The American Biological Safety Association (ABSA) International is getting serious about biosecurity. Over the last several years, it has initiated the development of a biosecurity credential for biosafety professionals, and also started an annual Biosecurity Symposium. To initiate the 1st Biosecurity Symposium from April 21-22, 2021, they invited me to give the keynote on the topic of “Biosecurity governance, concerns, and future directions.” I took the opportunity to advance the… Read More »ABSA 1st Biosecurity Symposium Keynote

This is not your father’s biosecurity: Experiments in novel security governance at the edge of innovation

I spent this week in Fukuoka, Japan at the World Social Science Forum, a gathering of national and international science academies and other research and professional bodies. At the invitation of the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), I gave a talk on several experiments in biosecurity governance that are going on: the international Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) competition, the FBI’s Biological Countermeasures Unit, and various efforts around the governance of gene drives.… Read More »This is not your father’s biosecurity: Experiments in novel security governance at the edge of innovation

Report out: Building STS Programs lunchtime workshop

There is a significant amount of largely invisible work that gets done within the STS community to keep it going and continuing building it. In an effort to make that work more visible, during the 4S 2017 Annual meeting in Boston, about 30 members of the STS community gathered for a lunchtime workshop about Building STS Programs. We gathered because we shared a belief that we do not yet have… Read More »Report out: Building STS Programs lunchtime workshop

Building STS Programs

Society for the Social Studies of Science 2017 Annual Conference Friday 1 September 2017 / 12:45-1:45 / Sheraton Boston, 3, Beacon E Add this event to your 4S schedule Purpose STS Programs at universities around the world have a wide array of institutional backing. A few are woven into the fabric of the university, while others center around a single faculty member. Some have been going for decades, and others… Read More »Building STS Programs

Constructing New Security Concerns in the Life Sciences

The idea that there is a set truth of the world that scientists must identify, codify, and disseminate in full is literally set in stone at the National Academies. It may come as a surprise, then that the Academies have also spent decades trying to figure out how to restrict or otherwise prevent certain knowledge to do with security concerns from spreading. After my Fall 2016 article on Biosecurity Governance… Read More »Constructing New Security Concerns in the Life Sciences

Words of Caution on Making Objects of Security Concern

As we continually develop new areas of technology, how do we think about how that technology might cause harm? In this talk, I draw out some lessons that can be learned from how Americans have built scientific cultures and governance mechanisms for constructing and governing security concerns in the life sciences. These cultures and mechanisms are built on a set of assumptions about the structure of knowledge and the relationship between… Read More »Words of Caution on Making Objects of Security Concern

Presentation to the BWC Meeting of Experts Side Event

Every year, the United Nations Biological Weapons Convention has a Meeting of Experts to share updates on developments relevant to the Convention. This year, several colleagues and I presented on work we have been doing as part of the ESRC/AHRC/DSTL funded grant on The Formulation and Non-formulation of Security Concerns: Preventing the Destructive Application of the Life Sciences. I presented on ways to “‘Take Care’ of Security in Synthetic Biology,” which… Read More »Presentation to the BWC Meeting of Experts Side Event

Conference Season

Conference Season is now over, and I participated in quite a few this year.  It began for me in June with three conferences/workshops in the UK.  At Oxford, I attended the Oxford Intelligence Group’s discussion of whether the UK needs an intelligence doctrine (notes available on their website).  In London, UCL put on a workshop concerning the current work which has developed off of the late Dame Mary Douglas. I… Read More »Conference Season

Ambiguity as a tool for both changing and stabilizing classification systems

Last weekend, I attended a conference at Stanford University on “Uncertainty: Ambiguity and doubt in knowledge production”.  At it, I presented a paper on how the Wassenaar Arrangement uses ambiguity to both stabilize and change the classification system.  For instance, it was by purposefully creating ambiguity in the areas of concern for Wassenaar that countries such as Russia were able to buy into the Arrangement.  By not being directed at… Read More »Ambiguity as a tool for both changing and stabilizing classification systems

EGAD International Export Control Conference

Next week may prove to be a precipitous moment in the life of the Wassenaar Arrangement.  Brinley Salzmann has organised a two-day conference in Paris called “Export and Security Controls in the Globalised Marketplace of the 21st Century”.  The morning of the first day is given over completely to Wassenaar, with talks by Ambassador Sune Danielsson (Head of the Wassenaar Secretariat), Barry Fletcher, Anne-Charlotte Merrell Wetterwik, and members of the… Read More »EGAD International Export Control Conference