A biosecurity panel met, expecting to approve recommendations, but myriad concerns complicated the proceedings.
Global research collaboration in scientific and engineering fields has been critical to advancing the frontiers of knowledge, promoting economic prosper ity, and solving global challenges. The global research enterprise is, by design, largely open and unrestricted. However, new risks and challenges threaten this open collaboration, particularly regarding authoritarian nations like the People’s Republic of China […]
The study provides an overview and comparative analysis of nine national approaches to strengthening knowledge security and the forces that drive them. The national approaches are those of Australia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the United States. They all have developed different approaches, depending on the national political context, […]
These Guidelines for Researchers on Dual Use and Misuse of Research have been developed by the five Flemish universities and imec, VIB, the Institute of Tropical Medicine, VITO and FlandersMake. These guidelines describe the expectations and obligations of researchers in research which might be dual use or misused. You may not have heard of these […]
For the Max Planck Society responsible and compliant behaviour is a key basic requirement. It is essential for all employees – both in science and in the science support area – to observe the laws and internal regulations. Responsible behaviour must be based on the structures of our organization, a balanced system which links governance […]
An annotated collection of guidelines, checklists and comparable documents is intended as a reference to help stakeholders in research and innovation to safeguard international cooperation.
Responsibilities for research integrity and security are distributed across multiple actors in the international research ecosystem. These include, national governments, research funding agencies, research institutions, universities, academic associations, and intergovernmental organisations. This report describes policy initiatives and actions from these different actors to safeguard national and economic security whilst protecting freedom of enquiry, promoting international […]
A host of companies provide a remote, automated workforce for conducting experiments around the clock.
An international security conference explored how artificial intelligence (AI) technologies for drug discovery could be misused for de novo design of biochemical weapons. A thought experiment evolved into a computational proof.
This publication presents the Staff Working Document on tackling R&I foreign interference. Foreign interference occurs when activities are carried out by, or on behalf of, a foreign state-level actor, which are coercive, covert, deceptive, or corrupting and are contrary to the sovereignty, values, and interests of the European Union (EU). EU Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) […]
This paper identifies a new existential risk factor that has not been recognised in prior literature: Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs). We illustrate how BCI technology could significantly raise the existential risk from global totalitarianism in the near future. In particular this is achieved not just by expansion of surveillance, but the expansion of brain stimulation. At […]
Since the first reports of a novel severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-like coronavirus in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, there has been intense interest in understanding how severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in the human population. Recent debate has coalesced around two competing ideas: a “laboratory escape” scenario and zoonotic emergence. Here, […]
The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation “Horizon Europe” requires funding proposals to include an ethics self-assessment of the potential risks of misuse of the research project that could pose a threat to human beings, animals and the environment. The European Commission has published accompanying guidelines for completing the assessment. Amongst other things, the […]
Advances in the biological sciences bring about wellbeing for humanity, but the same advances could be misused, particularly for the development and proliferation of biological weapons. To promote a culture of responsibility and guard against such misuse, all scientists, research institutions, and governments are encouraged to incorporate elements from the Tianjin Biosecurity Guidelines for Codes […]
Although acts of cybercrime and cyberwar are different, the lines between the two have been become blurred over time. The nature of cyberspace has complicated the pre-existing doctrine for armed attacks, yet they are still being applied. Furthermore, the United States historically has responded to malicious cyber activity through a militarized lens. This tendency to […]
The “Guidelines for the Development of International Cooperations of the Max Planck Society” serve to support scientists of the Max Planck Society in in balancing freedom of research, rule compliance and individual responsibility so that they are able to successfully carry out international collaborations even under uncertain or challenging conditions.
Gene drives hold promise for use in controlling insect vectors of diseases, agricultural pests, and for conservation of ecosystems against invasive species. At the same time, this technology comes with potential risks that include unknown downstream effects on entire ecosystems as well as the accidental or nefarious spread of organisms that carry the gene drive […]
The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS) has worked in close cooperation with the Leiden Asia Centre (LAC) on an extensive study mapping the risks and challenges of academic and research collaboration with Chinese partners. To this end, the LAC and HCSS conducted over 40 interviews with scientists and university staff in the Netherlands and […]
Anecdotal evidence asserts that extremist materials on the internet play a decisive role in radicalization processes. However, due to a structural absence of empirical data in the current literature, it remains uncertain if—and to what extent—online extremist materials radicalize. Therefore, the approach of the current study was two-fold. First, we explored what types of online […]
Strategies for Foundations, Universities, Civil Society Organizations, and Think Tanks.
Reverse genetics has been an indispensable tool to gain insights into viral pathogenesis and vaccine development. The genomes of large RNA viruses, such as those from coronaviruses, are cumbersome to clone and manipulate in Escherichia coli owing to the size and occasional instability of the genome. Therefore, an alternative rapid and robust reverse-genetics platform for […]
Ethical issues concerning brain–computer interfaces (BCIs) have already received a considerable amount of attention. However, one particular form of BCI has not received the attention that it deserves: Affective BCIs that allow for the detection and stimulation of affective states. This paper brings the ethical issues of affective BCIs in sharper focus. The paper briefly […]
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is building links between China’s civilian universities, military and security agencies. Those efforts, carried out under a policy of leveraging the civilian sector to maximise military power (known as ‘military–civil fusion’), have accelerated in the past decade. Research for the China Defence Universities Tracker has determined that greater numbers of […]
This publication is aimed at professors, scientists and scientific staff at universities and non-university research institutions as well as representatives of these organizations working in the field of “export control and research activities“. It deals, in particular, with the rights and obligations that apply in this area. While scientific freedom is enshrined in the Basic […]
This Manual is primarily aimed at the academic and research sector, its representatives and employees as well as scientists as private individuals. The goal is to raise the awareness of universities and research institutions for the aims of export control and to support them in the application of foreign trade law. Restrictions under foreign trade […]
Continuing advances in science and technology offer the promise of providing tools to meet global challenges in health, agriculture, the environment, and economic development; some of the benefits are already being realized. However, such advances have the potential to challenge the oversight systems for responsible conduct of life sciences research with dual use potential – […]
China’s People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) collaboration with foreign universities is growing and the expansion of international ties remains one of the priorities of the PLA National University of Defense Technology (NUDT). The developments outlined in this report warrant more attention and different approaches from those currently employed by most governments and universities. Responses to PLA […]
Agricultural genetic technologies typically achieve their agronomic aims by introducing laboratory-generated modifications into target species’ chromosomes. However, the speed and flexibility of this approach are limited, because modified chromosomes must be vertically inherited from one generation to the next. In an effort to remove this limitation, an ongoing research program funded by the U.S. Defense […]
Scientific advances over the past several decades have accelerated the ability to engineer existing organisms and to potentially create novel ones not found in nature. Synthetic biology, which collectively refers to concepts, approaches, and tools that enable the modification or creation of biological organisms, is being pursued overwhelmingly for beneficial purposes ranging from reducing the […]
TNO brings together people and expertise in order to create innovations. This enables us to make businesses more competitive and to contribute to a sustainable and healthy society. We set ourselves high standards in terms of conducting independent research, innovation and contributing to economic growth. Our professionals use their expertise, inspiration and customer focus to […]
Advances in AI, robotics and so-called ‘autonomous’ technologies¹ have ushered in a range of increasingly urgent and complex moral questions. Current efforts to find answers to the ethical, societal and legal challenges that they pose and to orient them for the common good represent a patchwork of disparate initiatives. This underlines the need for a […]
Artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities are growing at an unprecedented rate. These technologies have many widely beneficial applications, ranging from machine translation to medical image analysis. Countless more such applications are being developed and can be expected over the long term. Less attention has historically been paid to the ways in which artificial intelligence […]
We show that faces contain much more information about sexual orientation than can be perceived or interpreted by the human brain. We used deep neural networks to extract features from 35,326 facial images. These features were entered into a logistic regression aimed at classifying sexual orientation. Given a single facial image, a classifier could correctly […]
Edward Jenner and his contemporaries believed that his variolae vaccinae originated in horses and molecular analyses show that modern vaccinia virus (VACV) strains share common ancestry with horsepox virus (HPXV). Given concerns relating to the toxicity of modern VACV vaccines, we asked whether an HPXV-based vaccine might provide a superior alternative. Since HPXV may be […]
Artificial intelligence and brain–computer interfaces must respect and preserve people’s privacy, identity, agency and equality, say Rafael Yuste, Sara Goering and colleagues.
Manufacturing processes for biological molecules in the research laboratory have failed to keep pace with the rapid advances in automization and parellelization. We report the development of a digital-to-biological converter for fully automated, versatile and demand-based production of functional biologics starting from DNA sequence information. Specifically, DNA templates, RNA molecules, proteins and viral particles were […]
The potential misuse of advances in life sciences research is raising concerns about national security threats. “Dual Use Research of Concern in the Life Sciences: Current Issues and Controversies” examines the U.S. strategy for reducing biosecurity risks in life sciences research and considers mechanisms that would allow researchers to manage the dissemination of the results […]
Long-standing efforts to develop a commercially viable laser-based process for uranium enrichment, initially with atomic and later molecular isotope separation, have had limited success. This article discusses a model for a third generation of laser enrichment technology where CO2 laser light is Raman scattered to generate 16 μm photons that excite a vibrational mode in […]
To promote a culture of responsible conduct in the chemical sciences and to guard against the misuse of chemistry, a group of chemical practitioners from around the world have formulated a set of ethical guidelines informed by the Chemical Weapons Convention – The Hague Ethical Guidelines.
An experiment that created a hybrid version of a bat coronavirus — one related to the virus that causes SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) — has triggered renewed debate over whether engineering lab variants of viruses with possible pandemic potential is worth the risks.
The emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)-CoV underscores the threat of cross-species transmission events leading to outbreaks in humans. Here we examine the disease potential of a SARS-like virus, SHC014-CoV, which is currently circulating in Chinese horseshoe bat populations1. Using the SARS-CoV reverse genetics system2, we generated […]
Some research results obtained in the life sciences can be used not only for the benefit of individuals and society as a whole, but also misused with intent to cause harm. Research such as this is referred to as Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC). To counteract such misuse proactively the German Ethics Council advocates […]
Canine distemper virus (CDV), a close relative of measles virus (MV), is widespread and well known for its broad host range. When the goal of measles eradication may be achieved, and when measles vaccination will be stopped, CDV might eventually cross the species barrier to humans and emerge as a new human pathogen. In order […]
Highly pathogenic avian influenza A/H5N1 virus can cause morbidity and mortality in humans but thus far has not acquired the ability to be transmitted by aerosol or respiratory droplet (“airborne transmission”) between humans. To address the concern that the virus could acquire this ability under natural conditions, we genetically modified A/H5N1 virus by site-directed mutagenesis […]
Highly pathogenic avian H5N1 influenza A viruses occasionally infect humans, but currently do not transmit efficiently among humans. The viral haemagglutinin (HA) protein is a known host-range determinant as it mediates virus binding to host-specific cellular receptors. Here we assess the molecular changes in HA that would allow a virus possessing subtype H5 HA to […]
Brain computer interfaces (BCI) are becoming increasingly popular in the gaming and entertainment industries. Consumer-grade BCI devices are available for a few hundred dollars and are used in a variety of applications, such as video games, hands-free keyboards, or as an assistant in relaxation training. There are application stores similar to the ones used for […]
The Challenges and Opportunities for Education About Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences workshop was held to engage the life sciences community on the particular security issues related to research with dual use potential. More than 60 participants from almost 30 countries took part and included practicing life scientists, bioethics and biosecurity practitioners, and […]
The pandemic influenza virus of 1918–1919 killed an estimated 20 to 50 million people worldwide. With the recent availability of the complete 1918 influenza virus coding sequence, we used reverse genetics to generate an influenza virus bearing all eight gene segments of the pandemic virus to study the properties associated with its extraordinary virulence. In […]
Full-length poliovirus complementary DNA (cDNA) was synthesized by assembling oligonucleotides of plus and minus strand polarity. The synthetic poliovirus cDNA was transcribed by RNA polymerase into viral RNA, which translated and replicated in a cell-free extract, resulting in the de novo synthesis of infectious poliovirus. Experiments in tissue culture using neutralizing antibodies and CD155 receptor–specific […]
Variola virus, the most virulent member of the genus Orthopoxvirus, specifically infects humans and has no other animal reservoir. Variola causes the contagious disease smallpox, which has a 30–40% mortality rate. Conversely, the prototype orthopoxvirus, vaccinia, causes no disease in immunocompetent humans and was used in the global eradication of smallpox, which ended in 1977. […]
The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) of 13 January 1993 entered into force on 29 April 1997. It is an international disarmament and arms control treaty whose objectives are a worldwide ban on chemical weapons and the destruction of existing chemical weapons stockpiles. The CWC is divided into a military part and a civil part. Thus, […]
The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (BWC) of 10 April 1972 entered into force on 26 March 1975. It contains a comprehensive ban on biological weapons and, as the first multilateral treaty to outlaw one type of weapon in its […]