The Formulation and Non-formulation of Security Concerns: Preventing the Destructive Application of the Life Sciences

Lead Research Organisation: University of Exeter
Department Name: Sociology and Philosophy

Abstract

It is well established that policy agendas define and construct what counts as a concern (Majone 1989). Yet, what remains outside of professional and policy agendas is equally an issue of importance. 'Strategic surprise', for example, is a recurring hazard for those attending to the security implications of science and technology (S&T). Yet, why and how some topics are ignored are questions amenable to social sciences and humanities inquiry.

This project seeks empirically and theoretically to assess what is *not* taking place in relation to the analysis of the implications of science for security. It will study what is not taking place in different case studies related to the potential for life science knowledge and techniques to serve destructive purposes. Through doing so, the project will consider how such cases can inform other studies of emerging areas of concern and how they can inform empirical social research in general.

A number of questions that address themes of ethical blindness, taken for granted assumptions, and the social basis of assessments will be central to this project, including:
* How, for who, between whom, and under what circumstances have some applications of science become rendered non-issues?
* What are the everyday routines, practices, social structures that shape this process?
* How have scientists, diplomats, security analysts, and others fostered attention to or distanced themselves from applications of their work?

In relation to Global Uncertainties Programme's goals, this project asks how a diverse range of expertise can be brought together in a systematic fashion to address practical dilemmas associated with openness and collaboration in science. Consideration will be given to how perceptions of S&T and its implications for defence and security vary across professional communities, regulatory regimes, and national contexts. The specific concern with the hostile application of the life sciences examined through the interdisciplinary programme of inquiry outlined in this application will serve as a springboard for addressing what is left outside professional and policy agendas. The ultimate impact anticipated from this project -- as also demonstrated by the activities set out in the 'Pathways to Impact' section -- is to support efforts to prevent the malign use of life sciences and, thus, ensuring S&T work to improve human security.

Planned Impact

PROFESSIONAL ORGANISATIONS and NGOs - In recent years, national science academies, NGOs, and other third sector organizations around the world have been considering the nexus between research and future threats for the spread of disease. Through the international research set out as part of Phases 2 and 4, the applicants will be able to partake in and inform existing national and international initiatives to foster science and technology while also preventing the life sciences from becoming the deaths sciences.

PUBLIC SECTOR BODIES AND OTHER POLICY MAKERS - Over the last decade, concerns about the deliberate spread of disease have risen within the agenda of governments as well as inter-governmental agencies such as the World Health Organisation. This is evident from the topics at meetings of the Biological Weapons Convention since 2003 that have included laboratory biosecurity, codes of conduct, and the education of life scientists. As part of the 2011 Review Conference of the BWC, States Parties agreed to monitor and consider responses to the implications of science and technology for the convention. This work will be able to feed into such deliberations (both during the funded period as well as beyond given the long term agendas of the applicants) through examining their commitments and limitations.

In addition, The Blackett Review "High Impact Low Probability Risks" made a number of recommendations pertinent to the themes of this application. The Blackett Review called for fresh thinking with regard to the review, assessment and communication of risks. The unwillingness or inability of experts to consider scenarios which fall outside their community, professional and individual 'comfort zones' was identified in the review as leading to the rejection of potential concerns. Moreover, concern was expressed for which risks experts struggle to recognise.

This project will address these themes by providing how issues are identified as matters of concerns in the first place and (the advantages and limitations of) how they become formulated as problems in need of redress. In this way, the project will seek to benefit decision-making about the high impact but low probability risks associated with the destructive use of the life sciences. It is anticipated this will be achieved by providing users with concepts and analytical frameworks as well as aiding in the identification of problems hitherto marginalised. In addition, throughout the various phases of the project, the applicants will bringing together a wide range of academic expertise - far beyond those traditionally working about defence and security - to understand the governance of risks.

RESEARCHERS IN THE LIFE SCIENCES - The empirical work envisioned will provide a mechanism for engaging directly with practicing researchers and advanced students. As a result, researchers' own understanding of the implications and uses of their work will be enhanced as well as their professional awareness.

RESEARCHERS OUTSIDE OF SECURITY RELATED FIELDS - The international symposium in Phase 2 will bring together leading edge researchers from various fields and organisations to examine how and what is given attention in social and ethical research. This will enhance the quality and scope of research by sharing methodological lessons about a difficult, pervasive, yet arguably marginalised matter in empirical studies: what is not being studied.

Publications

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Evans S (2015) edited by Anique Hommels, Jessica Mesman and Wiebe E. Bijker in Science and Public Policy

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Evans S (2017) It's not a Bug, It's a Feature: Anomaly Handling and the Politics of Gene Drives in Journal of Responsible Innovation

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Evans S (2017) Anomaly handling and the politics of gene drives in Journal of Responsible Innovation

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Evans S (2015) What's the matter with biosecurity? in Journal of Responsible Innovation

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Evans S (2016) Biosecurity Governance for the Real World in Issues in Science & Technology

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Evans SW (2014) Synthetic biology: Missing the point. in Nature

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Leonelli S (2016) Data Shadows in Science, Technology, & Human Values

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Rappert B (2014) Biological Weapons Convention: Confidence, the prohibition and learning from the past in Institute for Security Studies Papers

 
Description A central question pursued as part of this project was:
- How can those concerned with the implications of science and technology become more aware of the implications of what they are **not** addressing?
During Phases 1 and 3, varied streams of empirical research and analysis conducted by different project members were undertaken that produced a number of significant claims, including:

1. In examining how the failure of South Africa to declare its former chemical and biological warfare programme has become forgotten within national and international deliberations, this project has identified defensive self-reinforcing and self-sealing reasoning and practices within the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and other disarmament forum that delimit what issues get discussed. As conceived by Brian Rappert and Chandre Gould, the ways in which the South African past programme non-declaration became a non-issues is just part of a much wider set of countervailing pressures and competing imperatives within the BWC that have negative consequences for international relations and weapon prohibitions.

2. Another part of the project considered contrasting applications in human cognitive enhancement in neuroscience, both with regard to scientific developments and social and ethical commentary. Through project publications, Malcom Dando established grounds for why neuroscientists (and neuroethicists) should be concerned about such misuse of their benignly-intended work as well as how little they understand about this dual-use problem. As well in this project an attempt was made to further explore the reasons for the past difficulty of effectively engaging scientists on these matters and what might be done about it to improve the changes of effective engagement in the educational material on hostile misuse. Project members concluded that scientists can be encouraged attend to such issues through extending emerging ethical deliberations regarding way in which science is carried out (Responsible Conduct of Research) to include what is done with the results of research.

3. Brian Balmer's case study of historical concerns about genetic engineering and biological warfare demonstrates that, although wider public debate had made links between the two even before the landmark molecular biology experiments of the early 1970s, this new science did not simply or immediately translate into a challenge to the BWC. Certainly, by the late 1970s, expert advice was being sought on the possibilities of a link but it was largely dismissed as both a present and future threat. In weighing up the extent of the threat, officials and experts considered not only the state-of-the-art of the science, but also whether the new techniques promised significantly different improvements that were sufficient to make them militarily attractive, and also the robustness of the BWC.

4. Sam Weiss Evans' drew out the range of ways members of the synthetic biology community take care of security concerns in their work. Security-of the organisms, the researchers, the nation, and the environment-are generally warranted as needing attention, but the type of attention given to security concerns shapes what counts as a concern and an acceptable governance mechanism. Some ways of constructing security concerns, such as listing pathogenic organisms, lead to institutional blind spots, such as an inability to see security concerns in organisms whose pathogenicity cannot yet be determined. Other approaches to constructing security concerns, such as a broad-based dialogue on whether and how research particular applications should move forward, opens up who has a voice in this process, and are attempts to address the absences in extant institutionalized practices for defining and governing security concerns. However, there are significant roadblocks to the promotion and integration of these latter approaches in our current governance framework.

5. The agreed reconceptualization of Phase 3 examined why so few so-called 'dual use experiments of concern' has been identified to date. Rappert detailed how the low number of instances of concern stemmed from how the biosecurity dimensions of the life sciences are identified, how they are described, how the assessments of benefits and risks are undertaken, how value considerations do and do not enter into assessments, as well as the lack of information on the outcomes of reviews. It moved on from this to examine the limitations and implications of the risk-benefit experiment of concern framing, the politics of expertise as well as the prospects for alternative responses.
Exploitation Route Corresponding to the streams of research noted in the box above:
1. Through such reasoning, Gould and Rappert concluded that moving forward within the BWC in promoting confidence and transparency would require something else than just more discussion and time on the matters that have been discussed in the past (like Confidence Building Measure forms). They produced and have discussed with governmental officials and others (i) their understanding of the practices and conditions that rendered the South African CBM non-declaration (and other matters) a non-issue within the BWC and (ii) proposals for an alternative agenda for action that would address the underlying conditions that limit possibilities for achieving progress.

2. Dando's findings on the potential malign use of neuroscience are being taken forward mainly in considerations of the Biosecurity Education of life (and associated) scientists. Building on this project, he is currently involved in a project financed by Canada and the UK to produce a multi author textbook dealing with the question of dual-use (biosecurity outside of the laboratory). This has been specifically designed to engage undergraduate scientists through the use of Team Based Learning (a form of group based active learning) that should give them the confidence to engage in the societal debate and decision-making about what they should do and what should be done with their findings - including the governance of dual-use research. The textbook will be available free on the web in multiple languages in the autumn of 2015.

3. Of relevance to those involved in contemporary biological weapons control, Balmer's history of the past dealings with genetic engineering suggests that to focus only on the novelty of any science when judging threats could be myopic: a threat dismissed in one context might take on significance in a different historical context.

4. Evans' work on the structuring of security (non-)concerns in synthetic biology funding proposal processes has already been put to use restructuring the process used in two US institutions, the National Science Foundation's Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Dual-Use Research of Concern (DURC) is a common way of framing security issues in biology, and Evans' has discussed the limitations of this framing with the Wellcome Trust in the development of their DURC policy, and also members of the US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity.

5. The analysis undertaken by Rappert questioned the continuing prominence given to conventional rationalistic "risk-benefit" assessment in managing the dual-use dimensions of the life sciences. In reply, he outlined policy measures based on acknowledging conditions of uncertainty, ignorance, and ambiguity in order to ask how issues can be sensibly approached nevertheless. Rappert elaborated how adopting such a starting basis could open spaces for alternative ways of thinking and methodologies for responding to a set of issues that are bound to uncomfortably accompany the life sciences into the future.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Security and Diplomacy

URL http://brianrappert.net/secrecy-absences/the-formulation-and-non-formulation-of-security-concerns-2013-2014
 
Description Research undertaken that examined the potential malign use of neuroscience are being taken forward mainly in considerations of the Biosecurity Education of life (and associated) scientists. Taking the work of this project forward, Malcolm Dando is currently involved in a project financed by Canada and the UK to produce a multi-author textbook dealing with the question of dual-use (biosecurity outside of the laboratory) for life science students as well as practitioners. The textbook has been available free on the web in multiple languages since the autumn of 2015. The results from the project were also presented at a meeting of an EU funded project on biosecurity for culture collections in December 2014. Members of the EU project had already produced a code of conduct and Dando presented the ideas gained on the project in regard to how education might best be developed to sustain the effective implementation of the code. The presentation was followed by an extended lively discussion of the implications for the educational process they wished to design and implement. The research undertaken on the shifting concerns about genetic engineering and biological warfare have used to help people in the arms control community understand the historical context within which arms control takes place. Three user related talks were given by Balmer (including the Dstl and the Biological Weapons Convention) and a policy briefing will be published in the next Yearbook of Biosecurity Education. Following from user engagement activities, the Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF) has agreed to fund the material costs, production and installation costs for an exhibition on based on the work of Dr Gould and Rappert. NMF will host the exhibition for six months in the second half of 2016 and early 2017. Rappert and Gould will undertake consultative activities to generate ideas for the content and design of the exhibition. It will be interactive and encourage and enable visitors to explore documents and materials relating to the CBW programme we have assembled to date. They are also planning to develop on-line interactive archive based in part on the ESRC project that will serves as a resources for science and medical organisations and individual practitioners (for instance, as part of ethics provisions required for Continuing Professional Development courses) as well as activists, analysts, and functionaries in the fields of transitional justice, visual art and archives. After Evan's presentation at the Biological Weapons Convention Meeting of Experts, he had an extended conversation with a member of the US delegation about the rollout of the US DURC policy. His set of recommendations for where funding organizations might next focus their money on biosecurity work was highlighted as a key outcome of the US National Science Foundation workshop on 'Where next for social science engagement in synthetic biology', and will be published in the Journal of Responsible Innovation. His work integrating with the synthetic biology community has directly led to a new research project studying and contributing to an early career leadership training programme for broader community involved in synthetic biology (including regulators, NGOs, think tanks, scientists, and members of industry). This global programme will be run in the America in 2015, Britain in 2016, and an Asian country in 2017. He has provided substantive comments on the Wellcome Trust's Dual-Use Research of Concern policy. Evans' ongoing work with the international Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) student competition has contributed to substantial changes in the way teams approach and integrate the broader aspects of their research projects. He is also working with iGEM headquarters to further assess and strengthen their screening system for genetic sequences that may pose security concerns. Evans has continued to assist in the design and operation of the International Genetically Engineered Machines competition's Security and Policy & Practices committees. He helped to redraft the requirements for teams to achieve awards, and how the team's projects were assessed for security concerns. Evans has also been working closely with CRISPR gene drive researchers to build, while still at the conceptual stage of development, broad practical engagement methodologies for bringing in a range of expertise to decide whether gene drive applications (the purposeful genetic modification of entire wild populations using minimal resources) should go ahead, and if they did, who should determine what the risks and benefits are. This has so far taken the form of a workshop held at MIT on 16 December 2015 for 35 people to discuss the specific application of a gene drive to immunize wild mouse populations on islands from getting Lyme disease (and thus preventing it in humans). Evans has been invited to co-author a paper (with Megan Palmer) for the Journal of Responsible Innovation special issue on the policy and security implications of gene drives, and will be presenting the paper during a US National Science Foundation workshop on this topic in February 2016. Evans also help run a Leadership Excellence Accelerator Program (LEAP) workshop with Megan Palmer at Asilomar from 14-19 June 2015. LEAP is a year-long development program for early- to mid-career leaders in government, industry, academia, and NGOs with an interest in synthetic biology. It seeks to provide fellows with mentorship, practical skills and a sustaining network to help them guide a socially responsible future for synthetic biology. In addition to being an advisor to the LEAP management, during this workshop, Evans conducted scenario-planning on how the projects that the participants were designing might come up against security regulations and concerns. He was also a reviewer for all action plans.
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Security and Diplomacy
Impact Types Societal

 
Description US Dual-Use Research of Concerns policy response
Geographic Reach North America 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
URL http://samuelevansresearch.org/main/2013/04/dual-use-research-of-concern-comments-on-the-us-governme...
 
Description Wellcome Trust Dual-use research of concern policy
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
 
Title Data Set - Project Coast 
Description As one component of our ESRC/AHRC/Dstl funded project under the Science and Society Programme (3/2013-12/2014), Brian Rappert (University of Exeter) and Dr. Chandré Gould (Institute for Security Studies) researched the former secret Apartheid-chemical and biological weapons programme (code name Project Coast) in order to understand how it has and has not been treated as an issue of concern by professional organisations and diplomatic proceedings. As background, through the endeavours of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), an extensive legal trial, and various other investigations, the activities of the programme have become treated as emblematic of the perversities of a former time. And yet, each attempt to determine and remember what took place has been structured and delimited by the very investigations that enabled it. In short, our research has asked how the history of Project Coast is situated between revelation and concealment, remembering and forgetting, and the past and the future. We undertook 18 interviews with 20 interviewees from government, civil society, professional associations and elsewhere to explore these issues. In 2 cases interviewees asked for no recording to be made of the interview and in 5 cases for the transcripts not to be deposited. In 1 case where an interviewee requested full anonymity, we determined it was not feasible to protect his identity if a transcript of the interview was deposited given his unique organisational role. The archive includes transcripts of the other 10 interviews. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2014 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact n/a to date 
URL http://reshare.ukdataservice.ac.uk/851599/
 
Title Media and Interviews Dataset - Security (non-)concerns in synthetic biology 
Description There is a set of interviews, images, reports, websites, and other media in an archive in the UK Data Service that provide a range of views on the ways to construct, govern, and make absent security concerns in synthetic biology. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Conducting the interview with Megan Palmer sparked ideas for a future grant opportunity and publications, which we are now pursuing. 
URL http://reshare.ukdataservice.ac.uk/851699/
 
Description Emma Frow 
Organisation University of Edinburgh
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I have participated in the international Genetically Engineered Machines competition Policy and Practices judging system which Emma Frow helped run. I have also provided writing on Synberc for a co-authored chapter.
Collaborator Contribution Dr. Frow organised the iGEM policy and practices work with Dr. Palmer, and provided writing on iGEM for our co-authored chapter,
Impact book chapter on "Taking care of security in synthetic biology". Presentations at the Science and Democracy Network meeting in Vienna, as well as the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology in Torun, Poland.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Ken Oye 
Organisation Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Country United States of America 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution For the 2014-2015 academic year, I was integrated with the Ken Oye lab at MIT. This lab focused on the policy and regulatory issues in emerging synthetic biology research and applications. As part of this lab group, I attended weekly meetings and was in regular oral and email correspondence with the members of the lab. My contributions were mainly to provide a reflexive perspective on the work that they were doing, and to suggest modification to their practices, writings, and research design that would move them more in like with contemporary lines of research within Science and Technology Studies
Collaborator Contribution The Oye lab provided intimate access to the strong connections between those studying the policy and regulatory side of synthetic biology and those studying the scientific side. This was a primary site of data collection for this research project
Impact This partnership is multidisciplinary. Disciplines involved include: science and technology studies, international relations, politics, economics, law, synthetic biology, philosophy, anthropology, chemical engineering.
Start Year 2013
 
Description LBNL 
Organisation Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Country United States of America 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution I am a reviewer for the LBNL's Joint Genome Institute's internal review process, specifically focusing on the broader aspects of the reviews. I raised awareness within JBEI about the broader aspects of the work being done.
Collaborator Contribution LBNL is a fantastic resource of workers focused almost purely on the science of what they are doing. As such, they provided access to a strong institutional system with well-developed management structures for raising and addressing safety and other issues directly related to their work, but not with broader aspects. My freedom of movement and inquiry within LBNL allowed me to complete a substantial portion of my research on black-boxing strategies for security concerns in synthetic biology.
Impact This was a multidisciplinary collaboration, composing computer science, biological engineering, synthetic biology, science and technology studies (me), chemical engineering, environmental studies, and material science.
Start Year 2013
 
Description LBNL 
Organisation Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Country United States of America 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution I am a reviewer for the LBNL's Joint Genome Institute's internal review process, specifically focusing on the broader aspects of the reviews. I raised awareness within JBEI about the broader aspects of the work being done.
Collaborator Contribution LBNL is a fantastic resource of workers focused almost purely on the science of what they are doing. As such, they provided access to a strong institutional system with well-developed management structures for raising and addressing safety and other issues directly related to their work, but not with broader aspects. My freedom of movement and inquiry within LBNL allowed me to complete a substantial portion of my research on black-boxing strategies for security concerns in synthetic biology.
Impact This was a multidisciplinary collaboration, composing computer science, biological engineering, synthetic biology, science and technology studies (me), chemical engineering, environmental studies, and material science.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Megan Palmer 
Organisation Stanford University
Country United States of America 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I have worked closely with Megan Palmer for the last three years. Her primary interests are in the organizational and leadership dynamics within the synthetic biology community, and I have provided dozens of hours of commentary and advice on her ideas, strategies, and publications.
Collaborator Contribution Megan is a key emerging member of the younger generation of synthetic biologists, and as such is intensely tied into global networks of researchers and industry members. Her access and gatekeeping activities for me have been invaluable. Her ideas and actions have also been a major source of data for my research.
Impact This was a multidisciplinary collaboration. Megan Palmer trained as a chemical engineer, and has since been studying organisational analysis. I am a Science and Technology Studies (STS) scholar.
Start Year 2011
 
Description Synberc 
Organisation University of California, Berkeley
Country United States of America 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I form part of the Practices Team for the US National Science Foundation's Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center (Synberc). This team, which is composed of researchers specifically studying the broader aspects of synthetic biology, has projects on intellectual property issues, environmental release of synthetic organisms, security issues, leadership development, and community engagement. I am involved in all of these activities, and my engagement various from conducting original research to commentary on current practice or future strategy. I also provide ad hoc training in Science and Technology Studies (STS) to members of the Synberc community.
Collaborator Contribution Synberc is the largest US-based consortium of synthetic biology researchers. Through Synberc, I have gained access to many of these researchers; a process that would likely not have been possible otherwise. Synberc's bi-yearly gatherings are a key research site for me. Its members have introduced me to the wider synthetic biology community, including British, Asian, and European researchers. They also provided space for me to conduct a 4-month ethnography of their central administration.
Impact This is a multidisciplinary collaboration, spanning computer science, biological engineering, synthetic biology, anthropology, political science, science and technology studies, chemical engineering, environmental studies, legal analysis, and material science
Start Year 2012
 
Description iGEM 
Organisation International Genetically Engineering Machines Foundation
Country United States of America 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution I am a member of the Policy and Practices Team for iGEM. I work with the Team Leads (Megan Palmer and Emma Frow) to construct the metrics used to judge the yearly global student competition. I judge teams using this rubric.
Collaborator Contribution iGEM is a key site of my research, and I have been given full access to its organisational structure and moderated access to its data. Studying the production and running of iGEM's yearly competition through a participant/observer lens provides incomparable insight into the workings of the organisation and the ways it views societal, synthetic biology, and the relationship between the two.
Impact ?This is a multidisciplinary collaboration, involving many disciplines, including computer science, biological engineering, synthetic biology, anthropology, political science, science and technology studies, chemical engineering, environmental studies, legal analysis, and material science.
Start Year 2012
 
Description 'Concern and Non-concern in historical perspective' at Dstl Porton Down 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/parliamentarians
Results and Impact An historical perspective from 1970s biomedical and biochemical research scares, including biological warfare research at the Dstl Porton Down site, to present dual-use situations.

Short-term impact: Satisfied project co-funders. Longer-term policy impacts: Unknown due to secrecy laws.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description 'Dual-use Neuroscience' at Dstl Porton Down 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/parliamentarians
Results and Impact Policy options were given and discussed, on how research studies can or should be published if they have military/terrorist potential ('dual-use').

Project co-funders were satisfied by team activities and result. Protocol policy updates are being made on the basis of the argumentation and documentation given.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description 'Formation and Non-formation of Security Concerns' at Dstl Porton Down 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/parliamentarians
Results and Impact Presentation led to discussion about present anticipatory response policies to terrorism and biosecurity threats. Ongoing policy options were given to those formulation the protocols.

Project co-funders were satisfied by our results and activities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description 'The Dis-eases of Secrecy' at Stellenbosch 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Awareness-raising seminar in a series at seven South African research institutions, about their own national political history, with passionate discussion during and after.

Students reported planning papers on the topics raised, as it pertains to their own local history and social views, as well as their proximity to sources.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description 'The Formulation and Non-formulation of Security Concerns' at Manchester Innovation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Questions while time permitted with continued discussion over tea.

Closer cooperation with present team member, planning future co-authored paper.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL https://research.mbs.ac.uk/innovation/Newsevents/Eventsarchive.aspx
 
Description 'The dis-eases of secrecy' at Singapore National University 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Lively discussion on various biosecurity and specific medical ethics questions.

Agreement for follow-up talk at a later date.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description ASU where next for social science engagement in synthetic biology 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact My discussion paper was discussed widely at the conference

After the conference, I was invited to submit an article based on my discussion paper to the Journal of Responsible Innovation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL https://cns.asu.edu/synbio
 
Description BWC side event 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/parliamentarians
Results and Impact Talk was followed by many conversations on the side, as many members of State Parties did not want to publicly discuss our papers

I had a long conversation with a member of the US delegation about the possibility of studying the rollout of the new government policy on dual-use research of concern. This transformed into an opportunity for me to discuss different understandings of the concept of risk and how those would be employed by different types of organisations who will need to implement DURC policies.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Berkeley synthetic biology summer school workshop on broader aspects of research 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Many of the undergraduates that participated in this activity had thought very little about the broader aspects of their work, but after my session, they found many questions they wanted to ask about, e.g., the different problems that regulators, consumers, doctors, and others are trying to address when researchers are attempting to introduce synthetic organisms.

This is one of the few summer courses for undergraduates that includes a broader aspects component in it in the San Francisco Bay Area. Each year, the summer school gets much positive feedback that the session was helpful, and have given more time to the session over the years.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013,2014
 
Description Forum on Synthetic Biology meeting (Palo Alto) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/parliamentarians
Results and Impact This was a chance to have many side conversations with high level policymakers, academics, biologies, and other practitioners that continued to shape both their and my perceptions about what the appropriate ways were to govern emerging biotechnology.

After the meeting, several of those in attendance followed up with me for more information about the ideas we discussed there.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://sites.nationalacademies.org/cs/groups/pgasite/documents/webpage/pga_086745.pdf
 
Description Four presentations at 2014 United Nations Biological Weapons Convention Meeting of Experts side events 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Sparked questions and discussion, see below.

After this side event, Dr Evans held a follow on meeting with representatives of the US government and Dr Gould and Prof Rappert held one with members of the SouthAfrican government related options in strengthening the BWC and biosecurity
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.unog.ch/80256EE600585943/%28httpPages%29/F837B6E7A401A21CC1257A150050CB2A?OpenDocument
 
Description Gordon Research Conference on Science and Technology Policy 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact The GRC provided a week of seclusion with policy makers and academics to discuss current issues in science and technology policy. It is a unique opportunity to interact over multiple days with key thought leaders and decision makers in the field. I was able to share my recent experience at the UN Biological Weapons Convention meeting, and also discuss the state of the field of STS. This included lengthy discussions about the value and difficulty of studying absences and areas of non-knowledge.

Several strong relationships developed and matured during the week, including ones with the leaders of other major US synthetic biology social science projects. Our future research plans are now more in sync.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Presentation at 2013 Biological Weapons Convention (Geneva) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/parliamentarians
Results and Impact Discussion lead to reformulation of Common Understandings as agreed upon by the signatories of the BWC.

Influenced the Common Understandings reached by the Meeting on how States Parties must keep up with the rapid pace of advances in the life sciences and their implications for the BWC, through the review of relevant developments in the field of science and technology.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity
URL http://www.unog.ch/80256EDD006B9C2E/%28httpNewsByYear_en%29/6885FBD958CCE765C1257C430034FBBA?OpenDoc...
 
Description Presentation at Bradford biosecurity conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation lead to lively debate and requests for information afterwards, as well as contributing material to a policy-influencing publication.

The stated and achieved aim of the conference was to produce "a policy-relevant publication to be circulated to State Parties of the CWC and the BTWC".
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.bradford.ac.uk/bioethics/bradford-conference-2013/
 
Description Presentation to Global Partnership working group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/parliamentarians
Results and Impact Presented talk to WMD policymakers of G-8 and other member countries, which led to several pertinent questions and discussions.

Due to state secrecy laws, impacts either hard to find out or not possible to publicize.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.un.org/en/sc/1540/transparency-and-outreach/outreach-events/pdf/Information%20Note%20Lond...
 
Description Presentation to South African Medical Association 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Health professionals
Results and Impact South African medical public shocked by the extent of complicity of their fellow practitioners in the genocidal "Project Coast" biological warfare program of the 1980s apartheid regime.

Further planned cooperation with the local bioethics students organisation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.wits.ac.za/newsroom/newsitems/201406/23775/news_item_23775.html
 
Description SDN paper 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact The talk was the most discussed at the Science and Democracy Network meeting, and was referenced in several other sessions

Several scholars asked about for more information on the literature on the social construction of ignorance and care.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.hks.harvard.edu/sdn/meeting/archive.html
 
Description Synberc Fall 2014 Retreat 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact My participation was as both an observer and as a way to gather several sets of colleagues who had research projects I wanted to study. I was able to meet with them and we had mutual learning sessions that provided each of us new insights.

I was able to assess the state of several Synberc research projects which had signified an interest in further discussion about policy and practices issues. I connected with them and we began working relationships to address their issues.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Synberc Spring 2014 retreat 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact My talk on strategies for blackboxing security concerns in synthetic biology sparked several questions immediately after, and a long dicussion with a member of the FBI about the value of my line of questioning

Several researchers approached me to talk about other strategies they used to get security 'off the mind', as well as critiques of the strategies I had articulated. This lead to several other research sites being identified.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Talk at workshop: The Limits to Privacy: Secrecy, Surveillance and Everyday Gatekeeping over the Past 100 Years (Southampton) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Talk fed into discussion and recurring themes and issues raised throughough workshop

After my talk, several themes and issues were discussed repeatedly throughout the workshop.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://limitstoprivacy.wordpress.com/
 
Description Workshop on (Microbial) Biosecurity and Compliance Management 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact As a member of the Work Packages nr 3 (WP3 -- "Define governance structure, legal status and operational practice") and WP9 ("Legal operational framework for access to microbial resources"), Malcolm Dando presented "An Integrated Approach to Biosecurity Education" to lead a discussion in these policy working groups.

Europe-wide biosecurity policies are currently under re-formulation as a consequence.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.mirri.org/news-and-events/archive/archive/2014/november/article/workshop.html
 
Description Workshop titled 'The Ghosts of the Past' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 250 medical practitioners, students, activists, civil servants and others attended a workshop at the Medical School at the University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa) regarding the research undertaken as part of this award. The event was held in conjunction with the South African Medical Association, the Steve Biko Centre for Bioethics, and Wits Students' Bioethics Society.

Radio interviews were held on 26 November with SAFM on Morning Live programme and Voice of the Cape

A civil servant from the City of Tshwane Heritage Resources Management Unit attended and expressed gratitude for the event as part his Unit's efforts to record and promote sites of historic, scientific, natural and social significant and establish a heritage route.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description iGEM Global Jamboree 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact I was a judge on the Policy and Practices track of the competition. My discussions and votes significantly shaped the outcomes of the competition. Prior to the meeting, I was in several discussions with the leads on the Policy and Practices track to redesign the track and the judging criteria

This is a highly visible event, and the Policy and Practices component of it is highly innovative. Several journal articles and members of the policy and industry communities have taken note of the way that iGEM is shaping the perception of the need for researchers to engage in the broader aspects of their research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://2014.igem.org/Main_Page