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Effort underway to boost bioscience security.

The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) is developing an interactive teaching module to introduce security issues to bioscience researchers.

The non-profit group, based in Washington, D.C., is soliciting the bioscience community for case studies on which to base the interactive module. Once completed, the materials will be provided to graduate programs across the country. The lessons will focus on security in the research environment and expositions on dual-use concerns.

"I have spoken with some researchers around the country, and I am under whelmed by the response of the community to the security risks," said Stephanie Loranger, who runs the program at FAS. "I am sure it will take time for the community to really appreciate the risks, but I worry that before that happens, there will be another biological weapons attack and Congress and the administration will respond with overly-aggressive security regulations and restrictions."

Loranger noted that, unlike the nuclear physics research community, few researchers in the biological sciences have experience with national security issues, security agencies or classified research programs.

"The basic fear is that there are agents and materials in legitimate labs that terrorists want to perpetrate biological weapons attacks," she said. "However, these same agents and materials are needed by legitimate scientists for developing treatments and therapeutics for human diseases ... The free exchange of information is fundamental to the advancement and culture of science."

FAS received a grant from the Carnegie Corp. of New York to develop and implement the teaching module. The group is accepting case studies from the bioscience community for use in the interactive portions of the project. The goal is to have two modules ready to be released in early spring 2005, which would be in time for them to be tested at graduate schools.

To submit a case study, FAS contact Loranger at FAS' offices in Washington, or by email at
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Author:Pappalardo, Joe
Publication:National Defense
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2004
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