Oversight of Dual-Use Biological Research: The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity [Updated July 10, 2006]   [open pdf - 76KB]

"Policymakers have addressed the threat of biological weapons and biosecurity issues for many years. An issue garnering increased attention is the potential for life sciences research intended to enhance scientific understanding and public health to generate results that could be misused to advance biological weapon effectiveness. Such research has been called 'dual-use' research because of its applicability to both biological countermeasures and biological weapons. The federal government is a major source of life sciences research funding. Tension over the need to maintain homeland security and support scientific endeavor has led to renewed consideration of federal policies of scientific oversight. Balancing effective support of the research enterprise with security risks generated by such research has proven a complex challenge. Policies considered to address science and security generate tensions between federal funding agencies and federal funding recipients. To minimize these tensions while maximizing effective oversight of research, insight and advice from disparate stakeholders is generally considered essential. The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) was established as one tool to aid policymakers and researchers in assessing the risks of federally funded research in the life sciences. It aims to provide the Secretary of Health and Human Services and researchers a source for advice on dual-use research and other biosecurity issues. Advice rendered by the NSABB may shape research activities and standards practiced by researchers in life science research fields."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL33342
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