Biosecurity initiative

For additional information about the IAP Biosecurity Working Group's activities, please visit: http://www.iapbwg.pan.pl/Activities

Activities in 2016:

Survey and Awareness of Dual Use Education in Pakistan - Pakistan is a rising star in the field of Science and Technology, and is publishing five times more research articles (3800+ articles in 2011) than it did in 2001 (511; Source: ISI Web of Knowledge: Jan. 2012). A major chunk of this research belongs to Life Scientists and especially those who are working in modern disciplines in various institutes of the country. More information is available HERE.

IAP against bioweapons - Members of IAP’s Biosecurity Working Group (BWG) convened in Geneva, Switzerland, to provide input to the Preparatory Committee for the 8th Review Conference (8-12 August) of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC). More information can be found HERE.

The EASAC Report on Gain of Function: Experimental Applications Relating to Potentially Pandemic Pathogens is available HERE.

Information on 'Understanding of BWC by Academia in developing countries' is available HERE.

A report on 'Contributions of IAP and its Biosecurity Working Group to the BWC' is available HERE.

Awareness Raising & Education on Biosafety & Biosecurity in Ukraine: 2011-2016 Review is available HERE.

Education in biosecurity: raising awareness on dual use issues - Led by IAP member Polish Academy of Sciences, in collaboration with US NAS, The Royal Society UK, Nigerian Academy of Sciences and Cuban Academy of Sciences, the major objective of project is to raise knowledge of the scientific community on biosecurity and risks connected with the misuse of developments in science, especially in the life sciences. More information is available HERE.

The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention Implications of advances in science and technology - This summary is designed as a record of issues that were discussed during the international workshop on advances in science and technology for the BWC, held 13-15 September 2015. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the consensus opinions of workshop participants, the organizations that provided support for the project, or the 107 academies of science that form IAP nor mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organisations imply endorsement by the US or UK governments or other sponsors. Biosecure was commissioned to produce the background documents and initial drafts of the report documents. More information is available HERE.

Responsible Research Practices in Chemistry and Biology - The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Technical Secretariat informs its Member States that it will organise, in collaboration with the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) and The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS),  a workshop on 'Policy and Diplomacy for Scientists: Introduction to Responsible Research Practices in Chemical and Biological Sciences'. The workshop will be implemented with the support of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) in Pretoria from 18-20 October 2016. More information can be found HERE.

Call for nominations for a regional workshop on policy and diplomacy for scientists:  INTRODUCTION TO RESPONSIBLE RESEARCH PRACTICES IN CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA 18 – 20 OCTOBER 2016. More information can be found HERE.

Gene editing discussions - On Friday 29 April 2016, the US National Academy of Sciences and US National Academy of Medicine’s Committee on Human Gene Editing held an information-gathering meeting in Paris, France, focusing on principles underlying human gene editing governance and policy. This will be a meeting of the consensus study committee as part of the process of developing its report. More information can be found HERE.

Further details on the agenda, speakers, and webcast availability will be announced soon at www.nationalacademies.org/gene-editing/consensus-study.

The day before, on Thursday 28 April, a number of European academies are organizing a workshop on the European landscape for human genome editing. The meeting will also be held at the French Academy of Medicine, and will include representatives from academia, funding agencies, industry, regulators and the wider European authorities. This meeting is being jointly organized by the Federation of European Academies of Medicine (FEAM), the UK Academy of Medical Sciences and the French Academy of Medicine, with support from the InterAcademy Partnership for Health and the French Academy Foundation. Those wishing to attend the sessions on 28 April are asked to please email Rachel Brown at the UK Academy of Medical Sciences (rachel.brown@acmedsci.ac.uk).

Activities in 2015:

Biological and Toxic Weapons - Led by Polish Academy of Sciences, the IAP Biosecurity Working Group (BWG) also includes academy representatives from Australia, China, Cuba, Egypt, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. As well as reviewing the latest advances in the biosciences and their implications for biosecurity and carrying out awareness raising activities, the IAP BWG also has a seat as a nongovernmental organization (NGO) at UN meetings of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and aims to provide timely inputs into the deliberations of the States Parties to the convention.

More information is available HERE.

Developments in science and technology that impact the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention - IAP published, in partnership with the Royal Society, the US National Academy of Sciences and the Polish Academy of Science, a review of scientific and technological developments that have implications for the UN Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC).

The review, available to download HERE, was presented at a side event at the Meeting of the States Parties to the BWC in Geneva, Switzerland. It ensures that the most up to date scientific advice in the area of biosciences is available to assist policy makers in preparing for the 8th BWC Review Conference, which takes in place December 2016. More information is available HERE.

Gain of Function: Experimental Applications Relating to Potentially Pandemic Pathogens- The background to this latest EASAC study is the debate about risks and benefits of research that modifies viruses to better understand their functioning, in particular their potential to cause pandemics. Special attention is given to viruses spreading from animals to humans and to human viruses spreading by aerosol route. Such research poses not only questions of biosafety, relating to the prevention of harm by accident, but also questions of biosecurity, meaning the intentional misuse of viruses made more potent in the laboratory. More information is available HERE.

International workshop on "Policy Makers and Practitioners: Awareness Workshop on Dual Use Education" took place at the Pakistan Academy of Sciences on 30 March 2015. The Workshop, organized by the Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) with support from IAP, raised awareness about the potential implications of dual-use research concerns in biotechnology. More information is available HERE.

IAP Biosecurity Working Group Meeting minutes are available HERE.

Furthermore, a list of activities of IAP's involvement in biosecurity can be found HERE.

Activities in 2014:

The Biosecurity Programme focuses on the promotion of engagement of IAP member academies in biosecurity issues, through: education in biosecurity and responsible conduct of science in research community, activities towards raising knowledge on the potential misuse of developments in life sciences, information supply on developments in relevant areas of science etc. The project strengthens ties with organizations such as: BWC, WHO, OECD, UNESCO, ICSU and its unions. The project will help IAP address several key objectives of its Strategic Plan: strengthening IAP’s role in providing independent scientific advice to policy and decision-makers, expansion of relationships with relevant inter-governmental and non-governmental partners, fostering active involvement in IAP of additional member academies, contribute to IAP’s mission of capacity building through sharing best practices and educational resources on biosecurity and by ensuring that IAP’s actions addressing potential security risks posed by advances in life sciences also support global scientific progress. More information is available HERE.

IAP releases Statement on Synthetic Biology. Trieste Italy, 7 May 2014 – Trieste, Italy - IAP - the global network of science academies - today issued a statement on ‘Realising Global Potential in Synthetic Biology: Scientific Opportunities and Good Governance’. 

In the statement, IAP highlights the different areas in which researchers are currently working with synthetic biology – for example, producing less expensive pharmaceuticals and other high-value chemicals, and next-generation biofuels. In the near future, synthetic biology will likely also find applications in biomedicine, agriculture, land and water decontamination, biosensing, new materials, nano-machines, and even in novel approaches to information processing.

More information on this can be found HERE.

The report from the IAP BWG “Workshop on Advances in Understanding Pathogenicity” (Geneva, 3 August 2014) and the Meeting of Experts (MXP) of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) (Geneva, 4-8 August 2014) is available HERE.

IAP Statement on Realising Global Potential in Synthetic Biology: Scientific Opportunities and Good Governance - Synthetic biology is defined as the deliberate design and construction of customized biological and biochemical systems to perform new or improved functions. While the field is in its infancy, it is already producing results that may have far-reaching implications in fields such as biomedicine, agriculture, land and water decontamination – even nano-machines and novel approaches to information processing. However, synthetic biology has become a controversial area, as concerns have been expressed in relation to the protection of human health and the environment. Such concerns arise mainly from governance issues associated with biosafety (protecting legitimate users and the environment) and biosecurity (protecting against intentional misuse).

The current IAP Statement addresses these and other key issues, promoting the idea that responsible research and innovation in synthetic biology should be encouraged and supported, and must not be stifled by excessive restrictions, while recommending a broad dialogue between scientists, social scientists, academies, non-governmental organizations and other interested stakeholders, including the general public.

More information is available HERE.

IAP and the Biosecurity Working Group - Professor Ryszard Slomski from the Polish Academy of Sciences represented IAP at the Meeting of Experts (MXP) of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) from 4-6 August 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland. In conjunction with the Meeting of Experts, the IAP Biosecurity Working Group organized a “Workshop on Advances in Understanding Pathogenicity” on 3 August 2014 in the Tiffany Hotel, Geneva. The workshop was attended by over 30 experts in the field. The meeting was dedicated to opportunities and challenges of two complementary issues - strategies for targeting pathogen virulence factors and examples of the modification of the immune response to a pathogen - and the implications of this research for the BWC and biosecurity.

More information is available HERE.

Activities in 2013:

Training Courses in Food Biotechnology 2013. IAP Member Academies and Government Agencies of Biotechnology in Developing Countries were invited to nominate up to three young scientists with a Ph.D. in biotechnological sciences or engineering. The final report is available HERE

3rd Global Partnership Responsible Science WEBINAIR - The Global Partnership met to promote Responsible Science in academia and industry on Thursday 24 October 2013 from 14:30-17:00 BST at the Royal Society.  The event showcased good practice approaches from a number of GP members and International Organizations which helped to create an embedded culture of Responsible Science and dual-use research in the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear sectors. As befitting such a far-reaching topic, the event was live-streamed through The Royal Society website and IAP members were invited to watch and discuss the ideas and examples presented in this webinar.

More information is available HERE.

Education in Biosecurity. Raising awareness on dual use issues was a project coordinated by The National Academies (U.S.), Chinese Academy of Sciences, Academy of Sciences of Cuba, the Royal Society, Nigerian Academy of Sciences, Australian Academy of Sciences, Indian National Science Academy, and the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology (Egypt). The major objective of this project, which started in 2011, was to raise knowledge of the scientific community on biosecurity and risks connected with the misuse of developments in science, especially in the life sciences. It is being achieved by a number of educational and dissemination activities such as organization and active participation in workshops and conferences, releasing reports, enlarging the network of academies directly engaged in discussion on the issue by inviting new members to join the IAP Working Group on Biosecurity, and strengthening current ties with such organizations as: Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) Implementation Support Unit, World Health Organization, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and International Council for Science (ICSU).

More information is available HERE.

Activities in 2012:

Responsible Conduct on Research is an Editorial in Science (Vol 338 16 November 2012) by Co-Chairs of the IAP/IAC Committee on Research Integrity which highlights the recommendations in the Policy Report issued by IAP/IAC on Responsible Conduct in the Global Research Enterprise.

Activities in 2009:
An international Workshop on "Promoting Education on Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences" was organized by the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw from 15-18 November 2009, under the auspices of the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB), the International Union of Microbiological Societies (IUMS), the United States Department of State, and IAP. Participants included scientists, educators, and experts in biosecurity whose aim was to:survey strategies and resources available internationally for education on dual use issues and identify gaps; consider ideas for filling the gaps, including development of new educational materials and implementation of effective  teaching methods; and discuss approaches for including education on dual use issues in the training of life scientists.
The report of the workshop, produced by an international steering committee under the auspices of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, will be available shortly, with recommendations for next steps. In the meantime, information on the workshop can be found at: http://dels.nas.edu/bls/warsaw/

Activities in 2008:

The Sixth Review Conference of the States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction took place in Geneva from 18-22 August 2008. The draft "Considerations, Lessons, Perspectives, and Recommendations" for IAP Members drawn from the presentations and working papers distributed to all BWC Delegates at the Convention include:

Scientists who become aware of activities that violate the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention or international customary law should raise their concerns;

Scientists should be aware of, disseminate and teach national and international law and regulations aimed at preventing the misuse of biological research;

Scientists with responsibility for oversight of research should promote adherence to these principles and act as role models.

The official report is available at: http://www.opbw.org/

 

Activities in 2007:
Further to the endorsement of the IAP statement in 2005 on biosecurity by 68 world ‘s science academies and the participation of members of the IAP Biosecurity Working Group (BWG) in the processes of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), the BWG was interested in gaining insight into the impact that the statement has had at the national level. More specifically, the BWG was interested in knowing what actions IAP member academies, as well as other national scientific organizations, communities of scientists and/or government authorities have undertaken in response to the statement.

 

The information gathered helped form the workplan for the biosecurity initiative in subsequent years, including ideas on:sharing within the IAP family information about new and ongoing national biosecurity initiatives; making recommendations to the IAP’s Executive Committee about the continued work of the BWG; expanding the network of IAP member academies interested in participating in BWG activities.
 

Activities in 2006:
The Royal Society, the International Council for Science and the InterAcademy Panel on International Issues held a workshop on the scientific and technological developments relevant to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC). This invitation-only meeting took place at the Royal Society from 4-6 September 2006.

The meeting addressed scientific progress in the life sciences, encompassing fields such as immunology, agricultural biotechnology, and drug delivery as well as promising techniques such as bioinformatics and RNA interference. One of the objectives of the Sixth BTWC Review Conference, taking place from 20 November - 8 December 2006, will be to review recent scientific developments and to assess the ways in which such developments may be relevant to the Convention.

The workshop provided an opportunity for the international scientific community to contribute to these discussions. A full report (see link below) of the workshop was produced for the BTWC Review Conference. RS-IAP-ICSU will also be hosting a seminar at the United Nations in Geneva on 21 November 2006 during the Review Conference.


IAP Statement on Biosecurity (2005)
IAP released a statement on biosecurity, endorsed by 68 members, in December 2005. The statement was presented to the UN Meeting of Experts of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) in Geneva the following week. IAP members were urged to disseminate the statement to their national media.