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Challenges and Opportunities for Education About Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences 4 Gaps, Needs, and Potential Remedies INTRODUCTION The remainder of the committee’s charge was to: Identify gaps [based on its review of currently available courses and materials]; Consider ideas for filling the gaps, and Discuss approaches for including education on dual use issues in the training of life scientists. This chapter addresses these elements of the charge, drawing heavily on the information gathered and suggestions made during the workshop in Warsaw, supplemented by the growing number of other projects, reports, and meetings that have addressed education about dual use issues. Much of the discussion in Warsaw took place in breakout sessions, with additional information provided in plenary presentations and subsequent discussions. One of the plenary sessions on the first day and the first breakout session focused on providing additional information about the current state of education and the availability of online materials to supplement the background papers commissioned for the workshop; the results of these discussions were presented in the previous chapter. The remaining breakout sessions focused on specific topics, with the first four groups listed below addressing one set of common questions and the other four groups addressing a second common set. (The list of questions for all the sessions may be found in Appendix D.)
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Challenges and Opportunities for Education About Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences Approaches to engaged teaching and learning (seminars, simulations and role playing, interactive online approaches, etc.) Teaching materials and curriculum content (topics, types of materials, resources for faculty, etc.) Motivating “students” (policy and ethical issues useful for raising awareness and engaging scientists in dual use problems) Preparing teachers (train-the-trainer, summer institutes, networks, etc.) Including dual use issues in existing education/training programs (bioethics, biosafety, responsible conduct of research [RCR]) Developing models to foster and support education/training (centers of excellence, regional networks, virtual networks, clearinghouses) Promoting and sustaining dual use issues by scientific organizations (scientific societies, scientific unions, academies of science) Engaging the scientific community in dual use education (engaging faculty and institutional leadership) In practice, there was considerable overlap and continuity within and across the sessions in Warsaw. For this reason, the rest of this chapter is divided into sections that address three broad topics, and the ideas from any plenary or breakout session may appear under one or more of these headings. The three sections are: Educational Materials and Methods, with “materials” defined broadly to include a variety of online resources; Implementing Education About Dual Use Issues: Practical Considerations, including teacher/faculty development, implementation at different stages of education and via existing programs such as bioethics or biosafety, and assessment and evaluation; and Broader Implementation Issues, such as financial resources and the roles of scientific organizations, governments, and international organizations. Some of the sections begin with “Background” that offers an introduction or information from other sources. This depends on how much material may have been presented earlier, such as the discussion of active learning and effective teaching in Chapter 2. That is followed by summaries of the presentations and discussions that took place in Warsaw, in some cases with additional information from other sources. Each section ends with the committee’s conclusions; the committee’s recommendations are presented at the end of the chapter.
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Challenges and Opportunities for Education About Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS AND METHODS Background The discussions during the workshop made clear that, beyond the available online resources identified in Chapter 3, additional educational materials and resources are needed if discussions of dual use research are to be incorporated more widely and effectively into education programs for life scientists around the world. Participants at the workshop addressed questions on the suggested content of these materials, the types of teaching methods that would be effective in presenting them, and the opportunities for developing materials more collaboratively and disseminating them more widely. One of the recurring themes in the discussion was that “no one size fits all,” given the diversity of fields, interests, and experiences across the life sciences. The key is making the issue relevant to students and this requires a tailored approach. At the same time, participants also stressed the importance of finding ways to share successful practices and lessons learned as education about dual use issues expands. Content Participants suggested that content—to the greatest extent possible—be designed to complement a student’s courses or be related to the scientific research being conducted in the researcher’s laboratory. In this way, dual use issues would be seen as more directly relevant to the student and could be integrated into broader training programs rather than presented solely as stand-alone information. This also highlighted one of the most significant gaps identified by the participants: how much of the currently available online resources on dual use issues appear to be targeted to the U.S. research community. The materials frequently reference U.S. responses to events such as the 2001 anthrax letters, the establishment of bodies such as the U.S. National Science Advisory Board on Biosecurity (NSABB), and legislation such as the USA PATRIOT Act. Selected online materials have been produced by organizations in the United Kingdom and Western Europe, but the case studies presented to illustrate research with dual use potential are drawn primarily from examples conducted in laboratories in the United States and other developed countries, such as Australia. Implementing education about dual use issues on a global basis will require developing materials that speak more directly to students and faculty in other parts of the world. With respect to such materials, some participants who had developed educational content on biosecurity and dual use research shared their experiences about which topics were most successfully received. Examples of real research cases, as well as fictional scenarios reflecting
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Challenges and Opportunities for Education About Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences situations that students might conceivably face, were cited as effective in engaging at least some groups of students. Some students also responded to discussions of how life scientists, as individuals or through their professional associations, had responded to other important issues affecting the conduct of life sciences research. Changes in the treatment of human subjects and laboratory animals were mentioned, along with more general discussions of the changes in biosafety standards and practices that reflect increased awareness of potential impacts on laboratory workers or the broader environment. Participants expressed the belief that these kinds of cases could be made relevant across a wide variety of national contexts. Some participants also discussed the use of more specifically security-related cases, such as the history of previous state bioweapons programs and the types of biological weapons that had been developed, as well as cases of bioterrorism or attempts at bioterrorism, such as those by Aum Shinrikyo. Some students found the discussions of the role of scientists in these past cases, and why they were involved, to be useful. The examples were most successful when used as part of discussions of how biosecurity issues were relevant to the students, and with a clear articulation of why students need to be aware of dual use issues. Some also reported that students were interested in the existence of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) as an example of an international agreement dedicated to issues related to their studies or as the legal embodiment of the norm against the use of disease as weapon. Fewer students appeared interested in formal legal and regulatory structures (Smallwood 2009). Other participants suggested that discussions of biosecurity and research with dual use potential could be introduced to students by presenting potential security issues along a spectrum of risks that included natural and reemerging disease outbreaks as well as accidental releases and deliberate misuse. Making Materials Accessible: The Language Barrier One of the gaps most frequently cited by workshop participants was the lack of materials in languages other than English. This was part of a larger discussion during the workshop about the need to find ways to make both existing and new resources more widely and readily available. Some efforts are being made to translate the available materials; a few of the online case studies developed by the Federation of American Scientists (http://www.fas.org/programs/bio/educationportal.html, accessed July 10, 2010), for example, are available in French and Chinese, and the Education Module Resource (http://www.dual-usebioethics.net/, accessed July 10, 2010) from the Bradford Disarmament Research Center and its collaborators, has been translated into Japanese and Russian. Par-
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Challenges and Opportunities for Education About Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences ticipants stressed that it could not be assumed that English proficiency would be common at the undergraduate level or in technical training settings such as biosafety that included a range of laboratory personnel. Even at the postgraduate level and beyond, where English could be considered “the language of science,” those taking part in discussions of topics related to responsible conduct, ethics, and dual use might be more comfortable expressing complicated, controversial, or nuanced views in their native languages.1 Facilitating Collaborative Development and Making Materials Widely Available A number of participants argued that the process of developing materials and teaching strategies for dual use education would benefit greatly from a collaborative approach and spirit. There is an opportunity to coordinate, and cooperate where possible, to save effort and resources while still tailoring particular activities to address specific fields, levels of education, and local or national context. One option that attracted substantial interest was the idea of a resource center or clearinghouse that could become an open-access repository to make curriculum and teaching materials widely available. Participants expressed the hope that such a repository could do more than collect and make materials available. Given the growing online capacities for discussion and collaboration, there were suggestions that some materials might be developed cooperatively. And as discussed further below, some participants also suggested that such a center could provide a venue for vetting materials and sharing lessons learned and best practices. Several potential approaches to building this capacity were discussed in the workshop, and participants suggested that, with some effort and coordination, they might complement one another. The first would be to embed dual use issues within the science community by creating such a resource through a major scientific organization. The Second International Forum on Biosecurity in 2008 had suggested that the IAP, the global network of academies of science, might be the appropriate home (NRC 2009f). At the workshop, some participants proposed including materials about dual use issues in the resources available from a number of online centers that already exist to promote better science education; see Box 4-1 for a list and brief description of some examples. This proposal would have the advantage of integrating the materials into the broader efforts to incorporate the lessons from research on learning and teaching. Some 1 Participants also recognized that in laboratory settings with multinational personnel, English might be the most practical language to use.
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Challenges and Opportunities for Education About Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences BOX 4-1 Projects and Resources to Improve Science Education MicrobeWorld Established in 2003, MicrobeWorld is an interactive multimedia educational outreach initiative from the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) that promotes awareness and understanding of key microbiological issues to adult and youth audiences and showcases the significance of microbes in our lives. The various outreach methods feature the process of discovery, historical changes in research, and a variety of scientific careers in industry, academia, and government. www.microbeworld.org MERLOT Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT) is a free and open online community of resources designed primarily for faculty, staff and students of higher education from around the world to share their learning materials and pedagogy. MERLOT is a leading edge, user-centered collection of peer-reviewed higher-education online learning materials, catalogued by registered members and a set of faculty development support services. MERLOT’s strategic goal is to improve the effectiveness of teaching and learning by increasing the quantity and quality of peer-reviewed online learning materials that can be easily incorporated into faculty-designed courses. www.merlot.org SENCER Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities (SENCER) was initiated in 2001 under the National Science Foundation’s CCLI national dissemination track. Since then, SENCER has established and supported an ever-growing community of faculty, students, academic leaders, and others to improve undergraduate STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education by connecting learning to critical civic questions. SENCER’s goals are to: (1) get more students interested and engaged in learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses, (2) help students connect STEM learning to their other studies, and (3) strengthen students’ understanding of science and their capacity for responsible work and citizenship. www.sencer.net participants suggested that making the materials available on a science site rather than a security site might also make them more acceptable to the broader community of scientists who would be asked to incorporate them in their courses. The second approach would be to incorporate the materials into sites intended to support teaching in the three main areas where participants
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Challenges and Opportunities for Education About Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences BEN BiosciEdNet (BEN) Collaborative was established in 1999 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) with 11 other professional societies and coalitions. The BEN Collaborative mission is not only to provide seamless access to e-resources but to also serve as a catalyst for strengthening teaching and learning in the biological sciences. BEN resources have been reviewed by the individual societies for standards of quality and accuracy; the collaborative establishment of its metadata structure permits the user to easily conduct productive interdisciplinary searches across the diverse biological sciences topics. www.biosciednet.org PKAL Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL) is one of the leading advocates in the United States for what works in building and sustaining strong undergraduate programs in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). As an intelligence broker within the undergraduate STEM community, PKAL disseminates resources that advance the work of academic leaders tackling the challenging work of ensuring that the undergraduate STEM learning environment serves 21st century students, science, and society most effectively, efficiently, and creatively. PKAL themes include institutional transformation, human and physical infrastructure, the academic program, pedagogical tools, the national context, and twenty-first century student education. www.pkal.org BioQuest The BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium (BQCC) is a community of scientists, teachers, and learners who are interested in supporting biology education that reflects realistic scientific practices. The efforts in science education build on a commitment to engaging learners in a full spectrum of biological inquiry from problem posing to problem solving and peer persuasion. Many of the projects involve coordinating faculty development workshops that focus on strategies for bringing realistic scientific experiences into their classrooms and collaboratively developing curriculum projects. http://bioquest.org/ suggested dual use issues could be quite readily added to existing education and training: biosafety, bioethics, and RCR. This has already happened to some extent with the Resources for Research Ethics Education (www.research-ethics.net) site in the United States, and there is a website where one can follow the efforts of the European Science Foundation and others to expand RCR education internationally (http://www.esf.org/activities/mo-fora/research-integrity.html).
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Challenges and Opportunities for Education About Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences The Global Bioethics Observatory of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was mentioned as a potential site already well known to the global bioethics community. At present none of these sites—or any similar ones—is deeply engaged in education about dual use issues, but it seems important to add this approach to the mix of possible opportunities.2 The third possibility would be to make use of a site devoted to broader issues of biosecurity and include education issues as part of its portfolio. This is the approach being taken by the Virtual Biosecurity Center (VBC), a new project that was presented at the workshop in Warsaw. The VBC is a project of the Federation of American Scientists and several U.S. and international partners. The VBC is intended to be an integrated information hub that provides a “one stop shop” for biosecurity and public health preparedness information. In this regard, the VBC will serve as a hub to distribute products and information produced by other organizations, including academics, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and governments. It would not produce its own content and would not take positions on issues. The plan includes an online community resource that would provide the capacity for discussions among specialized groups that could also use it to collaborate on activities such as the development of materials. One issue raised was the capacity of the VBC to reach beyond the biosecurity community that will be its natural constituency to engage more traditional science and science education organizations, but the organizers have already made progress in that area by engaging several U.S. science organizations and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) as participants. In the same vein, participants suggested that in some cases it might be appropriate to develop resource centers on a regional basis, where there might be more common experiences and examples to share and where networks might develop more readily and naturally. Other participants noted that in some regions the level of political tension among countries would make this difficult to implement and could lead to parochial approaches that would not benefit from a broader discussion of lessons learned elsewhere. Others suggested that national or regional centers could also be connected via the Internet, offering the advantages of local “ownership” of educational resources without sacrificing the benefits of international contacts. Each of these options has advantages and limitations, and no clear consensus emerged from the workshop or the committee about the most 2 The World Health Organization (WHO) has addressed dual use issues and has recently revamped its approach to biosafety education, but at present it has no plans to become a general resource on biosafety education.
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Challenges and Opportunities for Education About Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences desirable choice. Instead, given the ability of websites to provide links to one another, the options were viewed as potentially compatible and that, although more complicated, collaboration among different types of sites could be the ideal outcome. A number of participants noted that achieving these possibilities, although well within the reach of current technology and feasible given the communication and collaboration that have developed in recent years among important parts of these communities, would require resources to develop and sustain the efforts. Participants cited numerous examples of worthwhile projects that had begun and then expired because of lack of continuing financial support. Participants also noted the desirability of creating ways to vet the materials available for teaching about dual use issues and expressed interest in creating ways to share impressions and perhaps conduct more structured assessments. There was some discussion of a Wikipedia-style discussion and collaboration mechanism to develop materials, although this format requires careful monitoring to ensure that the material is factual. The technology to support a variety of online discussions is available; for example, it is to be a feature of the VBC. Again, participants pointed out that access to these online mechanisms varies and that these issues would need to be considered in the design of any collaborative effort. But the hurdles were not seen as insurmountable, and there was substantial enthusiasm for taking advantage of such approaches as another way to build and sustain a network of engaged educators. Educational Strategies and Teaching Methods Chapter 2 already provided an introduction to the research about the most effective approaches to teaching, so this section offers only a brief summary of some of the specific comments made during the workshop. Participants described and proposed a variety of possible approaches for informing students about dual use issues. It is important to note that these included more traditional lecture settings and the large classes typical in introductory courses, provided they included ample opportunities for interaction between students and teachers and small group discussions where possible. In terms of active learning approaches, using either real cases or scenarios as part of role playing was cited as an effective method to deliver content, since it engaged students in experiencing the perspectives of different stakeholders. A number of participants also discussed ways to incorporate newer media, such as audio and video podcasts and YouTube, and virtual reality settings such as Second Life.
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Challenges and Opportunities for Education About Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences A range of online approaches were discussed, including both those that engaged students with teachers and with each other, and those that were intended for use by individuals. Some participants described ways to bring Web 2.0 resources, such as wikis and blogs, into an educational setting, given that students in at least some parts of the world experience them as a regular part of their lives outside the classroom.3 For online groups, there was some discussion about generational differences, with younger students frequently seeming more engaged and comfortable with online discussions than older students (and perhaps faculty). For individually oriented online materials, the discussions underscored the need to avoid the passive go-through-a-series of slides, take-a-quiz, and print-a-certificate approach that characterizes a significant portion of traditional biosafety or RCR education. For a number of participants, an overriding concern about the enthusiasm for online approaches was that the use of online teaching materials required sufficient connection speed and technical support, which may be a major limitation in reaching students where access to Internet is not universal. Participants stressed that, although this is frequently presented as a problem for developing countries, it also affects developed countries such as the United States where broadband capacity varies significantly. Several participants suggested that well-designed CDs or DVDs, which would not pose the same connectivity issues, could be used instead and could provide most of the same opportunities for engagement and interaction. No single approach was considered the most appropriate or effective, and participants in several breakout sessions emphasized that more than one mode could be combined. Participants stressed again that the most effective teaching strategies were likely to depend on the targeted audiences. Conclusions Based on its understanding of the materials currently available, as described in Chapter 3 and above, on the additional material about teaching strategies in Chapter 2, and on the discussions at the Warsaw meeting, the committee concluded that: Additional materials are needed that will be relevant to diverse audiences in many parts of the world, as well as those at dif- 3 An account of research about such efforts at the K-12 level was presented at the 2010 conference of the International Society for Technology in Education and offers potentially relevant suggestions for more advanced settings. It may be found at http://center.uore-gon.edu/ISTE/2010/program/search_results_details.php?sessionid=50054537&selection_id=54084303&rownumber=4&max=4&gopage=, accessed July 10, 2010.
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Challenges and Opportunities for Education About Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences ferent educational stages, in different fields within the life sciences, and in related research communities. A number of good resources have been developed, but there is a need for more that are relevant to research related, for example, to plants or animals and to fields that are not as obviously security-related. More materials are needed in languages other than English. This will be particularly important in undergraduate settings or when used as part of technical training (i.e., biosafety). In addition to online resources, materials such as CDs or DVDs that can provide comparable opportunities for engaged learning are needed for areas that lack the sustained access or capacity to take full advantage of Web-based materials. Providing widespread access to materials that could be adapted for specific contexts or applications through open access repositories or resource centers would be important to implementing and sustaining dual use education. Given current technology, it would be feasible to create the capacity to develop materials through online collaborations, as part of or in partnership with repositories or resource centers. Online collaborative tools can be a key mechanism to facilitate global participation in the development of materials, although, again, issues of access to the Internet will need to be considered in designing any arrangements. Developing methods and capacity for the life sciences and educational communities to comment on and vet education materials, such as an appropriately monitored Wikipedia model, would be important. Another important capacity would be the ability to share lessons learned and best practices about materials and teaching strategies as experience with education about dual use issues expands. If appropriate resources are available, both this and the previous conclusion should be well within the capacity of current online technologies. Teaching strategies need to focus on active learning and clear learning objectives, while allowing for local adaptation and application. IMPLEMENTING EDUCATION ABOUT DUAL USE ISSUES: PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS Opportunities to Implement Education in Varied Settings A recurring theme during the workshop was the variety of settings in which content about dual use issues could be introduced. This discussion
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Challenges and Opportunities for Education About Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences The Role of Scientific Organizations The Warsaw meeting participants generally believed that scientific organizations could play valuable roles as partners in promoting and sustaining education about dual use issues, and could undertake mutually reinforcing activities to integrate education and awareness within the scientific community. One clear advantage is that scientific societies and other professional membership associations reach a significant base of working scientists in relevant areas of the life sciences. Their engagement provides authoritative and credible endorsement for the importance of addressing the challenges dual use issues pose. Such messages may also be more acceptable to scientists from such a source than from governments. Participants acknowledged that capacity varied greatly among the organizations and that the splintering of the life sciences among many separate groups at the national and international level made the task of engaging “the life sciences community” more difficult. A number of these organizations are already active in biosecurity, however, as their roles as conveners of the workshop illustrated. Chapter 1 described some of the activities, and more detail is available in Appendix C. These organizations operate at the national, regional, and international level, as well as serving particular scientific fields. Even if nationally based, the organizations may have a significant international membership. The American Society for Microbiology (ASM), for example, includes over 43,000 individual microbiologists, approximately 30 percent of whom are international members. Regional and international unions and other federations of multiple societies can serve wider geographical and disciplinary representation and may effectively play diplomatic roles in conveying broad messages to their national members. Materials produced by one society may also be distributed for adaptation and use by others via these federations. In this way, smaller members may benefit from existing resources generated by larger organizations. The International Union of Microbiological Societies (IUMS), for example, includes over 100 societies in 65 countries, of which ASM is one of the largest members. Similar unions exist in molecular biology (International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, IUBMB), chemistry (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, IUPAC), and other related fields. The IUPAC Multiple Uses of Chemicals was described in Chapter 3, and as announced during the Warsaw workshop, the first IUMS regional course for graduate students and practicing professionals from developing countries, “Antimicrobial Resistance in Bacteria, Fungi and Viruses,” held in Singapore in June 2010, included a short session on dual use issues led by Professor Geoffrey Smith, a member of the workshop organizing committee (http://iums.org/Outreach/index.html, accessed June 20, 2010).
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Challenges and Opportunities for Education About Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences As an umbrella international association linking multiple science academies, the IAP has also been influential in encouraging its members to address dual use issues through the efforts of its Biosecurity Working Group. Participants singled out the 2005 IAP Statement on Biosecurity (IAP 2005) as another useful resource to build local scientific engagement and commitment. In addition to IAP, other umbrella scientific organizations may be valuable partners in efforts to increase the extent to which social responsibility and ethics training are incorporated into the life sciences. The International Council for Science (ICSU), which includes both national academies of science and scientific unions as its members, also has a Committee on the Freedom and Responsibility of Science. Workshop participants discussed other contributions that they believed scientific organizations could make to education and the ways to promote and sustain such engagement. Participants suggested making use of existing fora, such as scientific conferences, science education conferences, and other meetings to discuss dual use issues and foster engagement. Activities will need to be tailored to local and regional needs, and different approaches may be appropriate to engaging scientists in different countries. Participants thus envisioned a collection of activities at several scales, in which local and/or discipline-specific organizations might generate material relevant for their particular audiences, regional networking could be used to promote education about aspects of safety and security, particularly as linked to the development of standards and best practices, international activities and partners could lend support to local and regional activities, and workshops could be encouraged to share and disseminate materials and to build networks and capacity. The potential of codes of conduct as education tools has already been mentioned, but it should be noted here that a number of professional societies and unions have codes of conduct that include biosecurity and dual use issues. ASM, for example, has long devoted attention to the ethical issues around biological weapons and more recently bioterrorism. Interestingly, it was participation in the 2005 BWC meetings related to codes of conduct that provided the impetus for IUMS and IUBMB to develop codes of ethics for their organizations and members.8 National academies of science can also draw on their convening power to organize meetings and may inform the policies of governments by providing advice through studies and reports or other advisory capacities. Warsaw participants highlighted the role of science academies as sources of advice for their governments and noted the value of scientific assessments conducted by academies in giving credibility to the impor- 8 The IUMS code may be found at http://www.iums.org/about/Codeethics.html. The IUBMB code may be found at http://www.iubmb.org/index.php?id=155&0=.
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Challenges and Opportunities for Education About Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences tance of dual use issues in biology. This includes studies, such as the Fink and Lemon-Relman reports (so-called after the chairs of the committees that produced the reports, produced by the National Research Council of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences [NRC 2004a, 2006]), and reports from the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities (Israel Academy 2008) and the French Academy of Sciences (Korn, Berche, and Binder 2008). A number of academies have also conducted workshops or other convening activities, such as two regional meetings carried out by the Ugandan National Academy of Sciences (UNAS 2008, 2009) and a workshop by the Chinese Academy of Sciences in cooperation with the OECD in 2008. In 2006, The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) undertook to develop a code of conduct on biosecurity at the request of the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. KNAW convened a Biosecurity Workgroup as well as a focus group of researchers and policymakers to provide input into the process. The code articulates guiding principles to inform responsible conduct. Of particular relevance to the question of education is the section on “Raising Awareness,” which recommends in part to “devote specific attention in the education and further training of professionals in the life sciences to the risks of misuse of biological, biomedical, biotechnological and other life sciences research and the constraints imposed by the btwc [sic] and other regulations in that context” (KNAW 2007:11).9 Following the release of the code in October 2007, the KNAW organized presentations and debates, and it continues to follow up on the dissemination activities. A list of a number of these activities involving academies and unions appears at the end of Appendix C. Biosafety associations represent another important type of professional organization. The International Federation of Biosafety Associations, IFBA, provides the same umbrella function as ICSU and the scientific unions do for the disciplinary societies. Several countries have also recently established national biosafety councils and/or national biosafety associations or have begun to consider biosecurity issues within the framework of biosafety organizations. For example, Morocco recently created a National Commission for Biosafety and Biosecurity, and the country hosted the second Biosafety and Biosecurity International Conference (BBIC09) in April 2009 in partnership with the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi and the Royal Scientific Society of Jordan.10 The Brazilian Biosafety Association (ANBio) initiated biosecurity activities in 2007 and has organized several training courses for workers in BSL-2 and BSL-3 9 The code may be found at http://www.knaw.nl/publicaties/pdf/20071092.pdf. 10 Further information about the regional BBIC may be found at http://www.biosafetyandbiosecurity-2009.org/.
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Challenges and Opportunities for Education About Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences laboratories; a Latin America Laboratory Biosafety and Biosecurity Conference was held in May 2008. In the Philippines, the Department of Health initiated a National Laboratory Biosafety and Biosecurity Action Plan Task Force in 2006, and the Philippine Biosafety and Biosecurity Association was established in 2007. Its Inaugural Symposium on Advocacy and Awareness on Biosafety and Biosecurity was held in March 2009 in association with several Philippine government agencies and with the U.S. Department of State Biosecurity Engagement Program. The Pakistan Biological Safety Association was established in 2007 under the Pakistan Society for Microbiology and has organized several laboratory safety workshops. These efforts and organizations can provide alternative avenues, beyond university-level academic courses, to address training and education on the potential dual use of life sciences research. The Role of Governments Most of the emphasis in this report has been on the “bottom up” approach that so far characterizes most of the efforts to expand the attention given to dual use issues in life sciences education. Participants also discussed how important some forms of “top down” support from governments would be to complement and help sustain the “bottom up” activities and initiatives. Perhaps the most obvious role, given the many needs identified during the course of the workshop, is financial support. The sums are not very large relative to other expenditures, for example, on science education, and certainly not relative to the expenditures that a few nations such as the United States are making in biodefense. But over the next several years they are likely to make the difference in whether the promising initiatives, described in Chapter 3 and expanded by the workshop participants, can be increased and, just as important, sustained. Governments can play other roles in encouraging education about dual use issues. The United States offers a number of examples. As cited in Chapter 1, the 2009 National Strategy for Countering Biological Threats gives a prominent role to scientists to foster and sustain a culture of responsibility (White House 2009). The NSABB has offered general guidance through its Strategic Framework for Outreach and Education on Dual Use Issues (NSABB 2008). Since the 1990s the NIH has made RCR education a requirement for all student traineeships and postdoctoral fellowships, although it does not prescribe how the training will be carried out nor collect data on the number of students actually trained. The requirement announced in 2009 by the National Science Foundation (NSF) that all undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who receive NSF support to do their research must receive RCR education is an even broader mandate. The Select Agent Program that regulates
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Challenges and Opportunities for Education About Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences research with a list of biological agents and toxins has requirements for laboratory security training, and there are proposals to expand this to include broader concepts of responsible conduct and personnel management (NRC 2009e). As already mentioned, the NSABB and the U.S. State Department (reflecting wider interagency agreement) have proposed that education about dual use issues be mandatory (NSABB 2007, Rocca 2008). Participants in the Warsaw workshop, as in other international discussions (Mancini and Revill 2008, 2009; NRC 2009f), disagreed about the advisability and feasibility of imposing an educational requirement. The major advantage cited was the pressure this would provide to overcome the many barriers and impediments to expanding education beyond the current limited base. Some of the resistance to the idea was philosophical, reflecting a general objection to such government requirements. Some of the resistance was practical—given the current lack of faculty and materials, there was concern that mandates could not be successfully implemented. A few participants also noted that education in some countries is so clearly the responsibility of local or state/regional governments that national mandates would be futile (see also Garraux  for a discussion of the example of Switzerland). And as described above, for some the wide array of methods by which courses are developed and adopted nationally, from the local and informal to the highly centralized, underscored the need to be flexible and to produce materials that can be adapted to a range of circumstances, even within a particular country. Some participants also suggested other ways in which governments could encourage broader adoption of education on dual use issues short of a general mandate, such as by linking such education to funding agency requirements in ways analogous to the NIH and NSF RCR requirements that would target key audiences, or by using the accreditation process or other legal structures that govern degree requirements in some countries. Some participants suggested that research funders consider incentives as well as requirements, such as funding innovative efforts to train faculty or develop resources. The Role of International Agreements and Organizations This report has already given substantial attention to the contributions that the work of international organizations, as well as the implementation of international agreements, is already making to support for biosecurity, and, in a number of cases, to education about dual use issues. Two organizations, the WHO and UNESCO, along with the processes related to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, stand out. WHO,
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Challenges and Opportunities for Education About Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences through its studies of dual use issues (WHO 2005, 2007), has provided an important international endorsement of their importance that takes them beyond the realm of “just” security. Its role in biosafety training is even more important for the future of education of a broad research community that includes laboratory technical personnel. So far the role of UNESCO has been relatively limited, though staff members from the organization have participated in a number of international meetings, including the Warsaw workshop. And the organization was a co-sponsor of a general workshop on dual use issues at the Polish Academy of Sciences in 2007 (Polish Academy 2007). Given its longstanding support for science in the developing world and its many activities in both bioethics and broader science ethics, this is an organization that many participants hoped would become more engaged in the future. One theme that emerged clearly in the discussions was the convening capacity of such organizations and the contributions that they can make to encouraging coordinated and sustained support from national governments. In addition, the upcoming BWC review conference in late 2011 was cited frequently as an example of opportunity to build upon the success of the 2005 and 2008 intersessional meetings and encourage broad support by member states for the initiatives cited in the reports of those meetings and at the 2006 review conference (BWC 2005, 2006, 2008). The report of the 2008 BWC states parties meeting specifically offers an opening: States Parties are encouraged to inform the Seventh Review Conference of, inter alia, any actions, measures or other steps that they may have taken on the basis of the discussions at the 2008 Meeting of Experts and the outcome of the 2008 Meeting of States Parties, in order to facilitate the Seventh Review Conferences consideration of the work and outcome of these meetings and its decision on any further action, in accordance with the decision of the Sixth Review Conference (BWC/CONF.VI/6, Part III, paragraph 7 (e)). (BWC 2008) Discussions are taking place among some of the organizations active in education about dual use issues about how best to take advantage of the review conference to garner further support and commitments from states parties (Sture and Minehata, in press). Conclusions Based on its understanding of the materials and teaching approaches currently available as described in Chapter 3, on additional material cited above and in other chapters, and on the discussions at the Warsaw meeting, the committee concluded that:
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Challenges and Opportunities for Education About Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences Scientific organizations as well as professional associations are playing leading roles in developing international support for education about dual use issues. There are significant opportunities to build on this work to carry out more systematic and coordinated efforts. To enable dual use issues to become a regular part of the curriculum across the life sciences, significant sustained funding will be required to fill the gaps, such as the need for new materials in multiple languages, identified in the workshop and other reports. Private sources such as foundations have played and can continue to play an important role in supporting the development and implementation of education about dual use issues. Beyond any private resources, the sustained support of governments will be necessary. Governments can also play a number of other roles besides providing funds to encourage the expansion of education about dual use issues. Two international organizations have particularly important roles in encouraging education about dual use issues. WHO has a particular role in biosafety, while UNESCO could make significant contributions through its work in bioethics. In addition, the upcoming Seventh Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention in 2011 will provide an opportunity for member states to build on prior work and take affirmative steps in support of education about dual use issues. SUMMING UP: THE COMMITTEE’S RECOMMENDATIONS In Chapter 3 the committee presented a number of its findings about the extent of current education about dual use issues internationally and the availability of online materials to support it. This has chapter offered a variety of conclusions that the committee reached based on the discussions at the Warsaw work and other material about gaps in current capabilities and needs that need to be filled if dual use issues are to become more included in the education of life scientists around the world. It also offered conclusions about some of the ways the gaps could be filled and the needs met. This section presents the committee’s recommendations for what it believes will be most important for implementing more and more effective education on dual use issues for the life sciences community. Although the findings led to conclusions, not all of the conclusions led to recommendations because the committee wanted to focus attention on those it found to be the most important to achieving the larger goal.
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Challenges and Opportunities for Education About Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences General Approach An introduction to dual use issues should be part of the education of every life scientist. Except in specialized cases (particular research or policy interests), this education should be incorporated within broader coursework and training rather than carried out via stand-alone courses. Appropriate channels include biosafety, bioethics and research ethics, and professional standards (i.e., RCR), as well as inclusion of examples of research with dual use potential in general life sciences courses. Insights from research on learning and effective teaching should inform development of materials, approaches to teaching students, and to preparing faculty. Specific Actions Achieving the broad goal of making dual use issues part of broader education will require a number of specific actions. They may be undertaken separately by different organizations, but there will be substantial benefit if there is an effort to coordinate across the initiatives and share successful practices and lessons learned. Resources will be needed to ensure that the initiatives are carried out at an appropriate scale and scope. The workshop participants and the committee did not explore the implementation of any specific recommendations in sufficient depth to prescribe a particular mechanism or path forward. Instead, reflecting the diversity and variety of situations in which education about dual use issues will be carried out, the previous sections of this chapter have laid out of a number of options that could be used to implement each of the recommendations below. Some of the options, such as the models for train-the-trainer programs, are sufficiently well developed—or already under way—that implementation could be relatively straightforward if sustained support is available to expand their scale and scope. In other cases, such as developing evaluation and assessment methods, substantial additional work will be required to plan and implement any systematic effort. Develop an international open access repository of materials that can be tailored to and adapted for the local context, perhaps as a network of national or regional repositories. The repository should be under the auspices of the scientific community rather than governments, although support and resources from governments will be needed to implement the teaching locally.
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Challenges and Opportunities for Education About Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences Materials should be available in a range of languages. Materials should interface with existing databases and repositories of educational materials dedicated to science education. Develop additional case studies to address broader segments of the life sciences community, with a focus on making the case studies relevant to the student/researcher. Design methods for commenting and vetting of materials by the community (such as an appropriately monitored Wikipedia model) so they can be improved by faculty, instructors and experts in science education. Build networks of faculty and instructors through train–the-trainer programs, undertaking this effort if possible in cooperation with scientific unions and professional societies and associations. Develop a range of methods to assess outcomes and, where possible, impact. These should include qualitative approaches as well as quantitative measures, for example, of learning outcomes. REFERENCES AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science). 2008. Professional and Graduate-Level Programs on Dual Use Research and Biosecurity for Scientists Working in the Biological Sciences: Workshop Report. Washington, DC: American Association for the Advancement of Science. Available at http://cstsp.aaas.org/files/AAAS_workshop_report_education_of_dual_use_life_science_research.pdf. Bradford Disarmament Research Centre Website. 2010. Applied Dual-Use Biosecurity Education: Online Distance Learning Module 20 Masters Level Credits. Available at http://www.dual-usebioethics.net/. Bügl, H., J. P. Danner, R. J. Molinari, J. Mulligan, D. A. Roth, R. Wagner, B. Budowle, R. M. Scripp, J. A. L. Smith, S. J. Steele, G. Church, and D. Endy. 2006. A Practical Perspective on DNA Synthesis and Biological Security. Presentation at the International Consortium for Polynucleotide Synthesis. December 4, 2006. Available at http://pgen.us/PPDSS.htm. BWC (Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention). 2005. Report of the Meeting of the States Parties. Geneva: United Nations. BWC. 2006. Sixth Review Conference of the States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention. Final Document. Geneva: Biological Weapons Convention. BWC. 2008. Report of the Meeting of States Parties. Geneva: United Nations. Garfinkel, M. S., D. Endy, G. L. Epstein, and R. M. Friedman. 2007. Synthetic genomics: Options for governance. Industrial Biotechnology 3(4):333–365. Garraux, F. 2010. Linking life sciences with disarmament in Switzerland. Pp.57-74 in Education and Ethics in the Life Sciences: Strengthening the Prohibition on Biological Weapons. B. Rappert, ed. Canberra, Australia: Australian National University E Press. IAP. 2005. Statement on Biosecurity. Available at http://www.interacademies.net/CMS/About/3143.aspx>. Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. 2008. Biotechnological Research in an Age of Terrorism. Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.
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