United States Government Policy for Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern [open pdf - 261KB]
"Life sciences research is essential to the scientific advances that underpin improvements in the health and safety of the public, agricultural crops and other plants, animals, the environment, materiel, and national security. Despite its value and benefits, however, certain types of research conducted for legitimate purposes can be utilized for benevolent or harmful purposes. Such research is called 'dual use research.' Dual use research 'of concern' (DURC) is a subset of dual use research defined as life sciences research that, based on current understanding, can be reasonably anticipated to provide knowledge, information, products, or technologies that could be directly misapplied to pose a significant threat with broad potential consequences to public health and safety, agricultural crops and other plants, animals, the environment, materiel, or national security. In general, there are risks associated with life sciences research, such as accidental exposure of personnel or the environment to a pathogen or toxin. Many existing and synergistic statutes, regulations, and guidelines are in place to address risks associated with biosafety, physical security, and personnel reliability. Some risks relate directly to the characteristics of DURC -- the risk that knowledge, information, products, or technologies resulting from the research could be used in a manner that results in harm or threatens society. DURC should be evaluated for possible risks, as well as benefits, in all these domains, to ensure that risks are appropriately managed and benefits realized. This Policy addresses dual use research risks holistically, that is, the risk that knowledge, information, products, or technologies generated from life sciences research could be used in a manner that results in harm."
United States Deptartment of Health and Human Services, Public Health Emergency: http://www.phe.gov/