Federation of American Scientists Case Studies in Dual Use Biological Research Module 8.0: Public Reaction Case Study
Topic: Discussion Subtopic: References and Further Reading

This Science Progress article focuses on the uneasy relationship between scientists and the public and how public engagement can and should work. In the authors view, "the end game of public engagement should be empowerment: creating a real and meaningful mechanism for public input to be heard far enough upstream in science and technology policy making and program development to influence decisions."
Biotechnology Research in an Age of Terrorism, National Research Council of the National Academies, Washington, DC: The National Academies Press (2004).
A committee of the National Research Council, chaired by Dr. Gerald R. Fink, aimed to consider ways to minimize threats from biological warfare and bioterrorism without hindering the progress of biotechnology, which is essential for the health of the nation. The resulting report notes that the tension between the spread of technologies that protect us and the spread of technologies that threaten us is the crux of the dilemma. Among its seven recommendations are ones to develop awareness programs to educate scientists about dual use issues in biotechnology, establishing seven categories of scientific research that should be subject to special review, and creation of the NSABB as a means for institutional review and guidance regarding biosecurity issues. These key provisions have all been enacted or will be pursued in the context of NSABBs activities. The significance of these actions, this committee and this report are that they represent the first fundamental steps by the life sciences community to provide self-governance to a major post-9/11 issue affecting future biotechnology research.

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