Education for Life Scientists on the Dual-Use Implications of Their Research: Commentary on “Implementing Biosecurity Education: Approaches, Resources and Programmes”

Science and Engineering Ethics 19 (4):1487-1490 (2013)
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Abstract

Advances in the life sciences are occurring with extreme rapidity and accumulating a great deal of knowledge about life’s vital processes. While this knowledge is essential for fighting disease in a more effective way, it can also be misused either intentionally or inadvertently to develop novel and more effective biological weapons. For nearly a decade civil-academic society as well as States Parties to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention have recognised the importance of dual-use biosecurity education for life scientists as a means to foster a culture of responsibility and prevent the potential misuse of advances in the life sciences for non-peaceful purposes. Nevertheless, the implementation of dual-use biosecurity education for life scientists has made little progress in institutions of higher learning. Professional societies and academic organizations have worked from the bottom-up in developing online dual-use biosecurity education modules that can be used for instruction. However, top-down help is needed from goverments if further progress is to be made in implementing biosecurity education for life scientists

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