Biosecurity – freedom and responsibility of research

Published: 7 May 2014

Some research results obtained in the life sciences can be used not only for the benefit of individuals and society as a whole, but also misused with intent to cause harm. Research such as this is referred to as Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC).

To counteract such misuse proactively the German Ethics Council advocates heightening the scientific community’s awareness of the danger of misuse, establishing a national biosecurity code of conduct to deal responsibly with research that may be open to misuse, and making funding of DURC contingent on approval by a new DURC Commission. Last, the German Ethics Council suggests a number of legally binding regulations and calls upon the scientific community and the Federal Government to promote the development of biosecurity codes of conduct for responsible research both within the EU and at a global level.