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FAS Biosecurity Project receives $500,000 grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York

FAS Biosecurity Project receives $500,000 grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York
04-05-2004

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The Federation of American Scientists Biosecurity Project received a $500,000 grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, project director Stephanie Loranger announced. The grant is for two years.

The anthrax attacks in the fall of 2001 changed bioscience research in the United States. Investigators across the nation face new requirements under two post-9/11 laws, the Patriot Act and the Bioterrorism Preparedness Act. The scientific community is gravely concerned about how it can do first-rate science and attract the best students, and yet comply with external controls on materials, labs and people.

Dr. Loranger said the problem is "how do we balance the benefits of free and open exchange of information against our need to protect a narrow set of information that could be dangerous in the wrong hands. "The Federation's proposed solution to this dilemma consists of two related efforts. Our Biosecurity Project will first develop a plan to establish policy centers for biosecurity at universities engaged in biodefense research. In the FY 2005 budget Congress appropriated $1.3 billion for biodefense research, including establishment of at least ten university centers dedicated to biodefense work. The FAS project will consult with working scientists and lab officials to come up with a plan for guiding research and information dissemination, without hindering scientific freedom. It is hoped to have at least one center adopt this plan on a test basis. Your participation is welcome.

Local policy management and the new laws will go only so far to control hazardous biological research results or diversion. So the project's second effort will be to raise awareness among bioscientists of their responsibility to stop the misapplication of biotechnology.

The goal is to assure that all bioscientists understand the risks presented by their research and consider how to minimize risks and recognize dangerous behavior. To teach awareness, the project will develop course modules drawing on work from around the nation. If you wish your course to be considered, link here.

We will address the new dangers of science in the twenty-first century. We will assure that the best science continues and helps security by giving the biological research community the same ethos of responsibility their predecessors in physical science did from 1945, aided by FAS.

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