in S&T relevant to nonproliferation and disarmament. It also reflects the increasing involvement of the scientific community in addressing the broader implications of continuing advances in the life sciences that, while yielding great benefits for health, the economy, and the environment, are producing knowledge, tools, and techniques with the potential to cause greater physical and psychological damage and loss of life than many natural disasters.2
The workshop was convened under the auspices of IAP—the Global Network of Science Academies, the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB), the International Union of Microbiological Societies (IUMS), the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), and the National Research Council (NRC) of the U.S. National Academies. The CAS Institute of Biophysics hosted the workshop, and an international steering committee assembled by the NRC organized the workshop in collaboration with the other partners. The steering committee also took responsibility for preparing a final report that would draw on the workshop and other information to reach findings and conclusions about S&T trends and developments and their implications for the BWC (see Box 1.1 for the committee’s statement of task). Brief biographies of the steering group members may be found in Appendix A; information about the convening organizations as well as other important international science bodies may be found in Appendix B. Support for the workshop came from a variety of public and private sources.3
Almost 80 participants from 28 countries and several international organizations took part in the workshop. The participants included practicing scientists from a variety of research institutions as well as technical and policy experts from governments and nongovernmental organizations. The 2.5-day meeting combined plenary sessions featuring talks by researchers about current developments across a range of S&T areas and smaller discussion groups to allow for more in-depth exploration of the implications of these developments for the BWC. Toward the end of the workshop the participants also discussed the impact of improved communication technologies on scientific collaboration and examined options for providing input from the scientific community to the BWC on a more structured and sustained basis. The workshop agenda and a list
2 For further information about this engagement, see the introductory chapters of the reports arising from two earlier international workshops (NRC, 2009a, 2011a). The current benefits and promises of advances in the life sciences are addressed, for example, in A New Biology for the 21st Century (NRC, 2009b) and The Bioeconomy to 2030: Designing a Policy Agenda (OECD, 2009).
3 Support was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, IAP, U.S. National Academies, CAS, U.K. Global Partnership Programme, U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency, U.S. National Institutes of Health, and U.S. Department of State.