Recognizing the Importance of Education
This appendix contains additional information to supplement Chapter 1’s account of the growing interest in education as part of international strategies to create the “web of prevention” needed to address the potential security risks posed by rapid advances in the life sciences. It was prepared by project staff and draws heavily on the background chapters from two earlier NRC reports on biosecurity and dual use issues (2009d,f).
The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) includes a provision for a review conference every five years to assess the operation of the Convention. The final declaration of the second review conference in 1986 noted the importance of education about the obligations of the BWC and the Geneva Protocol as part of the “necessary measures [by States Parties] to prohibit or prevent any acts or actions which would contravene the Convention” (BWC 1986:4).1 Similar acknowledgment of the role of education appears in subsequent review conference declarations.
National and international scientific organizations with policy interests related to biological weapons have been active on issues of disarmament and nonproliferation for many years. The emphasis on education and the engagement of the broader international scientific community has been more recent, however. In 1999, for example, the British Medical Association published Biotechnology, Weapons, and Humanity, which called
for increased awareness of the dangers posed by biological weapons and the need to support the norms against them. The report called for fostering public debate about the “ethical and scientific issues surrounding biotechnology and its possible uses in warfare” (BMA 1999:102). In a 2002 submission to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth for a paper on ways to strengthen the BWC, the Royal Society included the recommendation that: “Consideration should be given to some formal introduction of ethical issues into academic courses, perhaps at undergraduate and certainly at postgraduate level” (Royal Society 2002:4). Also in 2002, the International Committee of the Red Cross launched its own Biotechnology, Weapons, and Humanity initiative, calling for a “web of prevention” to address the risks that technologies from the life sciences could be used for hostile purposes. In addition to a number of proposals for national and international legal measures to support implementation of the BWC, the initiative recommended including education about the risks of misuse as part of overall ethical training for life scientists.2
The anthrax mailings in October 2001 in the United States dramatically increased attention to the potential risks of bioterrorism, especially in that country. In October 2003, the U.S. National Research Council released the prepublication version of a report that focused specifically on the potential risks of research with dual use potential, Biotechnology Research in an Age of Terrorism, often called the “Fink report” after the study’s chair, Gerald Fink of MIT (NRC 2004a). Planning for the project had begun prior to the September 11 attacks and the anthrax mailings, but those events gave the report much greater visibility. The report contained a strong statement about the responsibilities of life scientists.
The Committee believes that biological scientists have an affirmative moral duty to avoid contributing to the advancement of biowarfare or bioterrorism. Individuals are never morally obligated to do the impossible, and so scientists cannot be expected to ensure that knowledge they generate will never assist in advancing biowarfare or bioterrorism. However, scientists can and should take reasonable steps to minimize this possibility. The Committee believes that it is the responsibility of the research community, including scientific societies and organizations, to define what these reasonable steps entail and to provide scientists with the education, skills, and support they need to honor these steps (NRC 2004a:112).
The report made a series of recommendations about how to meet these responsibilities, largely focused on enhancing self-governance by the sci-
More information may be found at http://www.icrc.ch/Web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/html/bwh!Open.
entific community. With regard to education, the report recommended that “national and international professional societies and related organizations and institutions create programs to educate scientists about the nature of the dual use dilemma in biotechnology and their responsibilities to mitigate its risks” (NRC 2004a:111). Several subsequent NRC reports echoed the basic education recommendation (NRC 2004b; 2006; 2009d,f).
A number of national and international developments strengthened support for education as part of addressing potential dual use risks. The charter of the U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB), created in March 2004 to advise the U.S. government on a range of biosecurity issues, includes a mandate to “provide recommendations on the development of programs for outreach education and training in dual use research issues for all scientists and laboratory workers at federally-funded institutions” (NSABB 2008b:2). In the fall of 2004 a workshop convened by the Royal Society and the Wellcome Trust led to the recommendation that “education and awareness-raising training are needed to ensure that scientists at all levels are aware of their legal and ethical responsibilities and consider the possible consequences of their research” (Royal Society 2004:1).3
“University department heads, research institute directors, vice chancellors and Universities UK would be ideally placed to take this forward for the academic community. However, these bodies would need to be co-ordinated. The Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries and the BioIndustry Association could take the lead for industrial training” (Royal Society 2004:1).
The IAP, the Global Network of Academies of Science, founded in 1993, is a global network of over 100 science academies. It is designed “to help its members develop the tools they need to participate effectively in science policy discussions and decision-making.” As one of its major activities, the IAP issues statements that are endorsed by its member academies; the first two statements, on population (1994) and urban development (1996) were timed to coincide with special sessions of the United Nations on those topics. The IAP created a Working Group on Biosecurity in 2004; its members were the academies of China, Cuba, the Netherlands (chair until 2009), Nigeria, the United Kingdom and the United States. The Polish Academy of Sciences became a member and chair in early 2010. The IAP website is http://www.interacademies.net/.
The International Council for Science (ICSU), founded in 1931, is a non-governmental organization representing a global membership that includes both national scientific bodies (111 members) and international scientific unions (29 members). As its website notes: “Because of its broad and diverse membership, the Council is increasingly called upon to speak on behalf of the global scientific community and to act as an advisor in matters ranging from ethics to the environment.” Approximately a dozen of ICSU’s unions can be considered part of the “life sciences”—reflecting the breadth and fragmentation of the field, unlike the single unions for physics and chemistry. ICSU also has a standing Committee on Freedom and Responsibility in the Conduct of Science. The ICSU website is http://www.icsu.org/index.php.
and the InterAcademy Medical Panel6—held the First International Forum on Biosecurity at a conference center in Como, Italy. Just over fifty participants from 20 developed and developing countries and several international organizations took part in the Forum.7 The forum focused on three topics—codes of conduct, “sensitive” information and publication policy, and research oversight—that reflected key issues for the scientific community at the time. The rules of the forum precluded reaching formal conclusions or making recommendations, but the ideas generated in the working sessions were summarized and circulated informally among the convening organizations as a basis for their future activities. At its meeting in April 2005, for example, the ICSU Executive Board endorsed further work on biosecurity by the organization and its member unions, setting the stage for further engagement and collaboration.
Later in 2005 the BWC offered an important opportunity to promote one vehicle for education on dual use issues. Three years earlier, following the collapse of efforts to negotiate a protocol to the Biological Weapons Convention to provide for verification of treaty compliance, the states parties agreed to a series of intersessional meetings before the next full treaty review conference in 2006. Each year focused on a different topic and included both a meeting of experts and a subsequent meeting of the states parties. The topic chosen for 2005 was “content, promulgation, and adoption of codes of conduct for scientists.”8 Although the session was not focused directly on education, codes offer a tool for educating about scientific responsibility and some codes include specific calls for education (Rappert 2004). A number of international scientific organizations were invited to make presentations to the experts meeting. A number of countries also made relevant statements about the importance of education during the experts and states parties meetings and the final report of the states parties meeting included a number of relevant recommendations (BWC 2005; Rappert, Chevrier, and Dando 2006).
In addition to the activities and outcomes of the 2005 BWC intersessional meetings themselves, a number of scientific organizations under-
The InterAcademy Medical Panel (IAMP), launched in 2000, is a global network of 64 academies of science and medicine, committed to improving health world-wide. IAMP activities focus on “institutional collaboration to strengthen the role of all academies to alleviate the health burdens of the world’s poorest people; build scientific capacity for health; and provide independent scientific advice on promoting health science and health care policy to national governments and global organizations.” The IAMP website is http://www.iamp-online.org/.
The agenda and participants list, as well as other information and copies of the presentations may be found at http://www.nationalacademies.org/biosecurity.
Additional information about the topics and contents of other intersessional meetings may be found at http://www.opbw.org/ under “Strengthening the Convention.”
took special efforts inspired by the opportunity the forum presented. For example, the IAP prepared a Statement on Biosecurity intended as a guide for academies and other scientific bodies preparing codes of conduct, which includes “education and information” as one of the core elements that should be addressed: “Scientists should be aware of, disseminate information about and teach national and international laws and regulations, as well as policies and principles aimed at preventing the misuse of biological research” (IAP 2005).9 The Statement was introduced in Geneva in draft form during the experts meeting and the final version, endorsed by 69 IAP member academies, was released in time for the states parties meeting at the end of the year.
Over the next several years, a number of universities and organizations, especially in the United States and the United Kingdom, began to produce materials and develop courses related to biosecurity and dual use issues. These activities and resources are discussed in Chapter 3.
The sixth BWC review conference in 2006 included the standard endorsement of education in its final document, but in greater detail than earlier statements and with a special acknowledgement of the need to raise awareness of those doing research with dual use potential.
The Conference urges the inclusion in medical, scientific and military educational materials and programmes of information on the Convention and the 1925 Geneva Protocol. The Conference urges States Parties to promote the development of training and education programmes for those granted access to biological agents and toxins relevant to the Convention and for those with the knowledge or capacity to modify such agents and toxins, in order to raise awareness of the risks, as well as of the obligations of States Parties under the Convention. (BWC 2006:11)
In addition, the new series of intersessional meetings agreed upon at the review conference included as one of the two topics to be addressed in 2008 “Oversight, education, awareness raising, and adoption and/or development of codes of conduct with the aim of preventing misuse in the context of advances in bio-science and bio-technology research with the potential of use for purposes prohibited by the Convention.” This provided another focal point for encouraging efforts by scientific organizations to promote education on dual use issues.
Development also continued at the national level. For example, in June 2007 the NSABB issued its Proposed Framework for the Oversight of Dual Use Life Sciences Research: Strategies for Minimizing the Potential Misuse
The other elements are Awareness, Safety and Security, Accountability, and Oversight. The full statement may be found at http://www.interacademies.net/Object.File/Master/5/399/Biosecurity%20St..pdf.
of Research Information, which included two important recommendations dealing with awareness and education.
Awareness. Researchers, research personnel, and research administrators should be fully aware of dual use research concerns, issues, and policies. An enhanced culture of awareness is essential to an effective system of oversight and is a critical step in scientists taking responsibility for the dual use potential of their work.
Education. Awareness will be enhanced through ongoing, mandatory education about dual use research issues and policies. This will ensure that all individuals engaged in life sciences research are aware of the concerns and issues regarding dual use research and their roles and responsibilities in the oversight of such research.
The federal government should develop training and guidance materials on federal requirements that can be used as educational resources at the local level. Furthermore, scientific societies, professional associations, and others in the private sector have an important contribution to make in promoting a culture of awareness and responsibility by educating broadly about dual use research, the associated tenets of responsible research, and the best practices in identifying and overseeing dual use research. The federal government can foster the development of such private sector training and education initiatives by providing appropriate resources for their development. Research institutions and associations should utilize these materials, tailoring them as needed to different audiences as part of promoting an awareness of dual use research issues among those involved in life sciences research. (NSABB 2007:9)
As of late 2010 the proposed framework was still undergoing review within the U.S. government, but if adopted the requirement for education across all the federal agencies, funding life sciences research would be significant. The potential impact on the United States is obvious, but it seems likely that the effects would spread through the extensive networks of international scientific collaboration supported by federal agencies.
In March 2008 a number of international scientific organizations—the IAP, the IAMP, the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB), the International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS), and the International Union of Microbiological Societies (IUMS)—convened the Second International Forum on Biosecurity in Budapest, Hungary, with the Hungarian Academy of Sciences as the host. More than eighty people from 31 countries and six international organizations took part.10 In part in anticipation of the BWC intersessional meetings later that year,
one of the topics of the meeting was building “a culture of responsibility within the science community regarding biosecurity through education and awareness raising, codes of conduct and other mechanisms.” The other two topics were developing systems for research oversight, and enhancing the role of international scientific organizations as advisors on biosecurity issues. The Forum did not produce conclusions or recommendations, but the summary report of the meeting notes:
Education was a common strategy emphasized by the three working groups to help move toward greater awareness of dual use issues, and ultimately toward greater consensus about risks and risk management strategies within the scientific community. The Forum discussions included suggestions to begin educational efforts by highlighting the many benefits arising from scientific developments, to incorporate specific historical examples of previous misuse of science, and also to promote active thinking and learning about biosecurity. A number of participants suggested that States Parties to the BWC should commit to taking steps to advance education and that national and international scientific organizations should promote the need for biosecurity education as well. The engagement of multiple stakeholders in the creation of codes of conduct was seen by many workshop participants as one opportunity to further such educational objectives. Beyond the creation of codes of conduct, participants suggested that discussions of the potential risks of misuse from life sciences advances, responsible conduct of science, and the existence of the BWC should be incorporated into academic training programs, although there was recognition that this would be a difficult task. (NRC 2009f:68)
As in 2005, the BWC intersessional meeting in 2008 included presentations by a wide array of governments, scientific and other organizations, and individual experts. Several academies of science and international unions took part by special invitation of the meeting chair or as part of national delegations.11 The U.S. State Department also announced its support for the international workshop about education on dual use issues that is the centerpiece of this report.
During the States Parties meeting, the U.S. representative made an important additional statement of U.S. support for education: “The U.S. believes that such education should be a mandatory aspect of graduate education in the life sciences in the broader context of professional responsibility, and that this meeting should urge States Parties to explore and undertake such efforts” (Rocca 2008:3). The final report of the meeting
An extensive collection of materials from the experts and states parties meetings videos, may be found on the UN Geneva Office on Disarmament website at http://www.unog.ch/80256EE600585943/(httpPages)/92CFF2CB73D4806DC12572BC00319612?OpenDocument.
included a number of specific suggestions for further action on education, although it only called for consideration of mandatory education:
States Parties recognized the importance of ensuring that those working in the biological sciences are aware of their obligations under the Convention and relevant national legislation and guidelines, have a clear understanding of the content, purpose and foreseeable social, environmental, health and security consequences of their activities, and are encouraged to take an active role in addressing the threats posed by the potential misuse of biological agents and toxins as weapons, including for bioterrorism. States Parties noted that formal requirements for seminars, modules or courses, including possible mandatory components, in relevant scientific and engineering training programmes and continuing professional education could assist in raising awareness and in implementing the Convention. (BWC 2008:6-7)
States Parties agreed on the value of education and awareness programmes:
Explaining the risks associated with the potential misuse of the biological sciences and biotechnology;
Covering the moral and ethical obligations incumbent on those using the biological sciences;
Providing guidance on the types of activities which could be contrary to the aims of the Convention and relevant national laws and regulations and international law;
Being supported by accessible teaching materials, train-the-trainer programmes, seminars, workshops, publications, and audio-visual materials;
Addressing leading scientists and those with responsibility for oversight of research or for evaluation of projects or publications at a senior level, as well as future generations of scientists, with the aim of building a culture of responsibility;
Being integrated into existing efforts at the international, regional and national levels. (BWC 2008:7)
Expressions of support for education have continued to grow since 2008. A workshop organized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) produced the general recommendation that “the scientific, ethical, and legal issues related to identifying and addressing issues related to dual use life sciences research should be taught to American and foreign scientists working in the life sciences in the U.S., with due consideration to relevance and flexibility of educational curricula at the institution,” and a long list of more specific proposals (AAAS 2008:5-6). The Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology (FASEB) also issued a statement in March 2009 that it believed “scientists working
in the life sciences have an obligation to be aware of the potential dual use nature of their research” and announcing its support for a number of principles related to education, including:
Dual use research and biosecurity education must be an integral part of the training scientists receive in the responsible conduct of research. Scientists and laboratory personnel at any level of training or career development who are engaged in research at the laboratory bench or clinic should be aware of the risks associated with the potential misuse of life sciences research (FASEB 2009).
Taken together, the level of interest in and support for education about dual use issues has grown substantially and there appears to be an opportunity for a genuine expansion of activities in many parts of the world.
BIOSECURITY ACTIVITIES BY ACADEMIES AND SCIENTIFIC UNIONS
Royal Society—Wellcome Trust: Do No Harm: Reducing the Potential for the Misuse of Life Science Research (2004) http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/stellent/groups/corporatesite/@policy_communications/documents/web_document/wtx023408.pdf
IAP—International Council for Science (ICSU)—InterAcademy Medical
Panel (IAMP): 1st International Forum on Biosecurity (2005) http://www.icsu.org/5_abouticsu/INTRO_UnivSci_2.html
IAP: Statement on Biosecurity (2005) http://www.nationalacademies.org/biosecurity
International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB): Code of Ethics of the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2005) http://www.iubmb.org/index.php?id=155&0
U.S. National Academy of Sciences: Globalization, Biosecurity, and the Future of the Life Sciences (2006) http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11567
Information about the full range of activities related to biosecurity at the U.S. National Academies may be found on its updated Biosecurity website: http://www.nationalacademies.org/biosecurity.
Royal Society—IAP—ICSU: Report of the International Workshop on Science and Technology Developments Relevant to the BTWC (2006) http://royalsociety.org/Report-of-the-international-workshop-on-science-and-technology-developments-relevant-to-the-BTWC/
International Union of Microbiological Societies (IUMS): IUMS Code of Ethics against Misuse of Scientific Knowledge, Research and Resources (2006) http://www.iums.org/about/Codeethics.html
Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences: A Code of Conduct for Biosecurity (2007) http://www.knaw.nl/publicaties/pdf/20071092.pdf
International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC): Impact of Scientific Developments on the Chemical Weapons Convention (2007) http://media.iupac.org/publications/pac/2008/pdf/8001x0175.pdf and Multiple Uses of Chemicals (2007) http://www.iupac.org/publications/ci/2007/2906/pp2_2005-029-1-050.html
Polish Academy of Sciences: The Advancement of Science and the Dilemma of Dual Use: Why We Can’t Afford to Fail (2007) http://www.english.pan.pl/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=236:international-conference-on-dual-use&catid=57:archive&Itemid=88
Israel National Security Council and the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities: Biotechnological Research in an Age of Terrorism (2008) http://www.academy.ac.il/asp/about/reports_show.asp?report_id=48
Royal Society: Royal Society Activities on Reducing the Risk of the Misuse of Scientific Research (2008) http://royalsociety.org/Royal-Society-activities-on-reducing-the-risk-of-the-misuse-of-scientific-research/
French Academy of Sciences: Les Menaces Biologiques—Biosécurité et Responsabilité des Scientifiques (2008) http://www.academie-sciences.fr/publications/rapports/rapports_html/rapportPUF_Korn.htm
Uganda National Academy of Science: Promoting Biosafety and Biosecurity Within the Life Sciences: An International Workshop in East Africa (2008) http://ugandanationalacademy.org/downloads/biosafe.pdf
IAP—IAMP—IUBMB—International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS)—IUMS—Hungarian Academy of Sciences: The 2nd International Forum on Biosecurity: Summary of an International Meeting (2008) http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12525
Chinese Academy of Sciences—IAP—OECD: Workshop on Biosecurity (2008) http://english.im.cas.cn/ns/es/200908/t20090826_34257.html
Uganda National Academy of Sciences: Establishing and Promoting Standards and Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) for Running Safe, Secure, and Sustainable Laboratories in Africa (2009) http://ugandanationalacademy.org/about.htm
Royal Society—International Council for the Life Sciences: New Approaches to Biological Risk Assessment (2009) http://royalsociety.org/New-approaches-to-biological-risk-assessment/
U.S. National Academy of Engineering: Ethics Education and Scientific and Engineering Research: What’s Been Learned? What Should Be Done?: Summary of a Workshop (2009) http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12695
U.S. National Academies of Science and Engineering—Royal Society—OECD: Opportunities and Challenges in the Emerging Field of Synthetic Biology: A Symposium (2009) http://sites.nationalacademies.org/PGA/stl/PGA_050738
IAP—IUBMB—IUMS—BEP—Polish Academy of Sciences: Workshop on Promoting Dual Use Education in the Life Sciences (2009) http://dels.nas.edu/bls/warsaw/
Uganda National Academy of Sciences The Scope of Biosafety and Biosecurity in Uganda: Policy Recommendations for the Control of Associated Risks. A Consensus Study Report (2010) http://ugandanationalacademy.org/downloads/Scope%20of%20Biosafety%20and%20Biosecurity.pdf
IAP—IUBMB—IUMS—Chinese Academy of Sciences – U.S. National Academy of Sciences: Trends in Science and Technology Relevant to the Biological Weapons Convention: An International Workshop (November 2010)
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.
BMA (British Medical Association). 1999. Biotechnology, Weapons and Humanity. London: Harwood Academic Publishers.
BWC (Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention). 1986. Second Review Conference of the States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention. Final Document. Geneva: Biological Weapons Convention.
BWC. 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.
FASEB (Federation of American Societies in Experimental Biology). 2009. Statement on Dual Use Research and Biosecurity Education. Bethesda, MD: FASEB. Available at http://www.faseb.org/Policy-and-Government-Affairs/Science-Policy-Issues/Homeland-Security-and-Visas.aspx.
IAP. 2005. Statement on Biosecurity. Available at http://www.interacademies.net/CMS/About/3143.aspx.
NRC (National Research Council). 2004a. Biotechnology Research in an Age of Terrorism. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
NRC. 2004b. Seeking Security: Pathogens, Open Access, and Genome Databases. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
NRC. 2006. Globalization, Biotechnology, and the Future of the Life Sciences. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
NRC. 2009d. A Survey of Attitudes and Actions on Dual Use Research in the Life Sciences: A Collaborative Effort of the National Research Council and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
NRC. 2009f. 2nd International Forum on Biosecurity: Report of an International Meeting, Budapest, Hungary, March 30-April 2, 2008. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
NSABB (National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity). 2007. Proposed Framework for the Oversight of Dual Use Life Sciences Research: Strategies for Minimizing the Potential Misuse of Research Information. Available at http://www.biosecurityboard. gov/news.asp.
NSABB. 2008b. Charter (Revised March 28, 2008). Available at http://oba.od.nih.gov/biosecurity/PDF/NSABB_Charter_508_accessible.pdf.
Rappert, B. 2004. Towards a Life Science Code: Countering the Threats from Biological Weapons. Bradford Briefing Paper No. 13, September. Available at http://www.brad.ac.uk/acad/sbtwc.
Rappert, B., M. Chevrier, and M. Dando. 2006. In-Depth Implementation of the BTWC: Education and Outreach. Bradford Review Conference Paper 18. Available at http://www.brad.ac.uk/acad/sbtwc/briefing/RCP_18.pdf.
Rocca, C. 2008. Statement by H.E. Ambassador Christina Rocca, U.S. Representative to the Biological Weapons Convention, to the Annual Meeting of the Biological Weapons Convention States Parties, Geneva, Switzerland, December 1, 2008.
Royal Society. 2002. Submission to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Green Paper on Strengthening the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. Available at http://royalsociety.org/Submission-to-FCO-Green-Paper-on-strengthening-the-Biological-and-Toxin-Weapons-Convention/.
Royal Society. 2004. Do No Harm—Reducing the Potential for the Misuse of Life Science Research. Available at http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/stellent/groups/corporatesite/@policy_communications/documents/web_document/wtx023408.pdf.