One of the biggest lessons we can learn from the current pandemic is the need to learn lessons without a pandemic. We can do that by taking a more experimental approach to biosecurity.
Current developments of interest
The US Government is asking for advice on how to identify and define emerging technology of security concern. You have until 19 December 2018 to provide your comments.
For over a decade now, I have be rolling around the concept of dual-use in my research, much like how a kitten plays with a fluff ball in the sunbeams of a room. What is the term? I’m mildly interested in it, though it might appear to some others that it’s all I focus on. I like rolling it around, batting it about to see how it will react. I… Read More »The use and abuse of science and technology: rethinking dual-use
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
This summer, I am a Guest Professor at the University of Vienna’s Department of Science, Technology, and Society. I’ll be teaching a course called, “Making Security: Science, Technology, and the Governance of Threats.” I am super excited about this course, as it is the first time I will actually be teaching students with prior STS training! Run over less than a month, I had to be very picky in the… Read More »Course Syllabus:: Making Security: Science, Technology, and the Governance of Threats
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
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
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 andÂ 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
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
On 21 February 2013, the US Government released a proposed policy for institutional oversight of dual-use research of concern. This proposed policy was then opened to public comments, where were due yesterday. As someone who has been looking at issues of dual-use research and technology for nearly a decade, and having recently turned my attention more specifically to dual-use research in the life sciences, I felt that I needed to comment.… Read More »Dual Use Research of Concern – Comments on the US Government’s Proposed Policy