Presentation on theme: "Dr Caitríona McLeish & Dr Paul Nightingale Sussex Day 16 th March 2005 The impact of dual use controls on UK science: results from a pilot study."— Presentation transcript:
Dr Caitríona McLeish & Dr Paul Nightingale Sussex Day 16 th March 2005 The impact of dual use controls on UK science: results from a pilot study
Background to the pilot project Basic question:Have attempts to secure life sciences against misuse affected its practice in the UK? Anecdotal evidence from the USA and Germany that governing dual use has impacted on practice of science Reclassification of scientific knowledge Redirection of science Spread of technical capabilities Global affects of biosecurity controls What is happening in the UK?
Highlights: legal barriers against misuse 2001 Anti Terrorism Crime and Security Act Part 7 and part 14 Schedule 5 pathogens and toxins 19 viruses, 5 rickettsiae, 13 bacteria, 11 toxins Include genetic material or GMO containing a sequence Notify if keeping or using these pathogens Notify who has access to these pathogens Disposal requirements for these pathogens
Highlights: other legal barriers against misuse 1974 Biological Weapons Act Ratifies the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention Criminal offence to develop produce stockpile acquire or retain any biological agent or toxin of a type and in a quantity that has no justification for prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes Any weapon, equipment or means of delivery designed to use biological agents or toxins for hostile purposes or in armed conflict Amended by Anti Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001 Criminal offence to transfer or make arrangements to transfer Applies to acts done outside the UK but only if they are done by a UK person
Highlights: other legal barriers against misuse (continued) 2000 Terrorism Act Providing or receiving instruction or training in the making or use of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons Inviting another person to receive such training, inside or outside the UK Inciting another person to commit an act of terrorism wholly or partly outside the UK where the act includes … poisoning Reference to Sections 23 and 24 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861 (administering poison, and administering poison so as to endanger life)
1.How institutions operate under biosafety and biosecurity regimes 2.Have the new biosecurity requirements impacted on current R&D programmes? Are their concerns about future impacts? 3.What is the perception of current interaction between scientific practitioners and the government designers of these regulations? Could this interaction be improved? Pilot project objectives
Project methods Needed to create a community Scientists, funders of science, biosafety personnel and biosecurity officials Practioners connected to listed pathogens and toxins The sample was constructed using standard bibliometric methods plus triangulation with other datasets Core sample of 100 Use of a control group not associated with listed pathogens Total sample size was 128
Project methods (continued) Questionnaire Needed to effectively communicate across barriers Sections of questionnaire: background information, impact on administrative costs and benefits, institutional costs and benefits and perceptions Validated over a six month period Interviews 27 in-depth interviews Exploration of questionnaire responses and test general trends The project achieved a 53% response rate (68 usable responses)
Profile of the sample All practising scientists in the sample worked with listed agents 71% with pathogens, 76% with toxins 91% with the genetic material 71% overall responsibility for research projects 68% day-to-day managers of laboratories 53% actively engaged in research 56% previously interaction with officials Majority of total respondents located in university/teaching institutions (68%) Government labs (9%) and commercial R&D facilities (6%) Typical institution size: 11 and 100 active researchers 91% hazard group 2, 74% hazard group 3 79% under conditions of containment
General findings Results suggest introduction in the UK has not had the same negative impact as has been reported in the US and Germany Success of implementation related to 1.Pre-existing security and biosafety measures 2.A responsive approach to regulation by the implementing body 3.Flexible and socially responsible reaction by the scientific community Future implementation could be more difficult
Major complications or setbacks experienced since 2001
Who ought to have responsibility for protecting the life sciences against misuse?
Which biosecurity policies are worth considering?
Analysis Important to recognise these are pilot study results Results are indicative rather than conclusive Results suggest that the sample believes implementation of new biosecurity controls in the UK has been conducted very successfully 79% regarded the current balance as satisfactory Possibility that research was performed too early The lack of substantial disruption is an important finding Suggests science and security do not necessarily have to be in conflict with one another
Analysis (continued) Three factors that have contributed to the successful implementation (thus far) of UK biosecurity controls: 1.Pre-existing biosafety measures which ensured a degree of biosecurity prior to ATCSA 2.A responsive approach to regulation by the implementing body 3.A flexible and socially responsible reaction to the new controls by the UK scientific community
Factors influencing successful implementation 1: biosafety and biosecurity Recurring theme in this project Implementation of UK biosecurity measures has drawn heavily on the biosafety model ‘Flexible system’ has since created procedures to deal with a range of security issues Concentrated on tightening existing practices rather than introducing radically new requirements Some of the procedural changes might as easily have occurred as a result of the periodic reviews of biosafety as specifically in response to biosecurity legislation
Factors influencing successful implementation 2: the implementation process Effective implementation is challenging Implementing body has come close to producing a textbook example of successful change management Exploited pre-existing links and channels of communication Biosafety as avenues into the scientific research community Non-confrontational approach Has to some extent been responsive to the organisational culture of the scientific community However, only 21% of the sample supported the police taking the role of protecting the life sciences Current low support may increase once direct communication begins
Factors influencing successful implementation 3: the response of the scientific community Proactive response of this sample of the scientific community Recognised that scientific research does not exist within a moral or social vacuum Recognised the need to be responsive to public concerns General awareness about current issues relating to misuse was quite low Much higher level of awareness about how a scientist might unknowingly contribute Believed awareness could improve if there was an opportunity for increased interaction with designers of biosecurity policies
Factors influencing successful implementation 3: the response of the scientific community (continued) Many in the sample repeatedly expressed their desire to be better guardians of their science Requires a better understanding Their desire to have more active engagement unlikely to be a result of any perceived direct benefit Stems from revulsion towards the possibility of their legitimate science being misused Concerns about the impact of inappropriate regulations
Risk management and the scientific community Project findings suggest a major change in how the scientific community conceives of risk and attempts to manage it Social legitimacy of scientific knowledge is increasingly dependent on scientists engaging with wider society Consistency of project responses suggests a subpopulation of the scientific community that Recognises the risks of misuse of scientific knowledge Recognises the importance of perceptions of that risk Recognises their role in responding to those perceptions Policy issue: provide them with the time and resources they need to effectively engage in policy making
Final reflections Thus far implementation of UK biosecurity controls seems to have been performed with limited negative impact on the scientific community Less disruptive in the UK than has been reported for the US and German scientific communities Necessary to regularly review the impact of dual use controls on UK science This project has developed and validated a methodology to identify relevant members of the scientific community and obtain such information
Final reflections (continued) Biosecurity policies need a two-stage implementation process First stage is securing adherence with minimal costs Second stage is culture change within the scientific community Second stage may require a change in to the type of interaction currently undertaken to take into consideration Cultural norms Work practices An appreciation of these norms and practices will Reduce potential resistance to new or extended biosecurity legislation May encourage full and effective participation in UK efforts to reduce the threat from biological weapons