Friday, February 22, 2013

Nature News: New guidelines announced for risky research

Nature News Blog
Posted by Brendan Maher
21 Feb 2013

US government officials have passed two more checkpoints on the long, winding road towards a policy for dealing with risky research. That journey was forced into overdrive at the end of 2011, when a government body recommended against publishing two studies showing how a deadly form of avian influenza H5N1 could be made to pass between mammals.
Today, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced a final framework for vetting specific types of experiments before funding them. The US Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) also published a long-awaited draft policy for how scientists and institutions should monitor and report on a wide range of research that malevolent forces could manipulate to do harm. This type of research, called dual-use research of concern (DURC), is fundable if the potential benefits are deemed significant and the risks deemed manageable.


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