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Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC) Committee

The working group recommends that a small, permanent, standing committee (The Dual Use Committee (DURC)) be appointed to work with investigators whose research, research results or other work products have been identified as having potential dual use concerns. This standing committee should be comprised of a small number of senior scientists whose primary role on this committee would be to keep abreast of issues and new information surrounding Dual Use. Ad hoc members from a variety of research disciplines (vaccine development; toxin production and/or research; computational modeling and/or simulation; theoretical risk assessment; or molecular biology; etc.) should be added to the committee as needed.

When the committee meets to consider the dual-use implications of a particular research project or work product, the Principal Investigator (PI) should be invited to participate in the review and discussions. The Dual Use Committee will not make recommendations as to whether the research results or other work products should be published. Rather, the committee will draft a statement elaborating the potential dual use implications of the work. This statement should be forwarded, after review and concurrence of the Deputy Director for Intramural Research (DDIR), with the publication to editor of the journal to which the work will be submitted for publication. On occasion, an editor may conclude that the potential harm of publication outweighs the potential societal benefits. Under such circumstances, the paper should be modified, or not be published. Scientific information is also communicated by other means: seminars, meetings, electronic posting, etc. Journals and scientific societies play an important role in encouraging investigators to communicate results of research in ways that maximize public benefits and minimize risks of misuse.

If the dual use concerns are identified early in the screening process (e.g., concept, IBC review, etc.), the committee can work with the PI to ameliorate the dual use concerns well before publication review.

Members of the Dual Use Committee should be willing to participate in the following ways:

  1. Receive and review copies of the NSABB Minutes
  2. Read and become familiar with the contents of National Academy Report Biotechnology Research in an Age of Terrorism (Fink Report)
  3. Complete the SERCEB online training module
  4. Attend NSABB meetings as time permits

The page was last updated on Tuesday, March 24, 2015 - 6:51pm