Biosecurity Innovation and Risk Reduction Initiative

Challenge

Advances in biotechnology outpace national governments’ ability to provide needed oversight to prevent accidents or deliberate misuse of dangerous biological agents. 

Action

Engage public and private sector leaders to develop, promulgate and incentivize new global biosecurity norms and technical approaches that can enhance innovation while protecting against possible harm. 

Results

Commitments and actions from scientific leaders, and experts from companies, educational institutions, scientific organizations and governments to continuously improve biosecurity as they advance biotechnology.

Rapid advances in technology hold the promise of a future that is more resilient to disease, food insecurity, and environmental instability. There is no doubt that advances in genomics, synthetic biology, and virology will continue to prove essential to achieve a safer, healthier, and more secure society. 

At the same time, global trends in travel, trade, terrorism, and technology are increasing the risk of a deliberate or accidental high-consequence biological event. Advances in technology, cheaper DNA synthesis, and widespread access to gene editing tools have made it possible for a broader array of actors to manipulate biological agents and systems. These scientific advances are outpacing the ability of national governments to provide effective oversight, forcing the technical community to govern itself – and creating an uneven patchwork of security and safety practices across facilities, countries and regions.

NTI | bio is working with stakeholders around the world to mitigate the misuse of tools and technologies to carry out biological attacks and to reduce the risk of a laboratory accident that could result in a high-consequence or catastrophic biological event. 

This work includes:

  • Convening a global group of leaders to develop, promulgate, and incentivize the adoption of a set of global norms and actions to reduce biological risks associated with advances in technology;
  • Developing and incentivizing biosecurity innovation, including novel technical solutions for overcoming security challenges;
  • Strengthening and expanding the use of tools to detect the synthesis or modification of dangerous biological agents.
Through this effort NTI | bio seeks concrete actions from researchers, institutions, companies and investors to improve security around advances in biotechnology–advancing a safer and more secure pursuit of biotechnology innovation to benefit society.  

In 2019, NTI and its Biosecurity Innovation and Risk Reduction Initiative partners will launch five working groups to engage new stakeholders, identify urgent actions, and catalyze the adoption of new approaches to reduce biological risks associated with advances in technology.

The working groups will focus on the following five concepts identified as initial priorities by Initiative members:

More information about this initiative, including concept papers by experts involved in the project outlining steps to be taken to reduce risks associated with advance in technology, can be found on the event page for the October 2018 kickoff meeting.

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Latest Activity

Article

Insurance Incentives for Reducing Biological Risks

In 2019, NTI and its Biosecurity Innovation and Risk Reduction Initiative partners will launch five working groups to engage new stakeholders, identify urgent actions, and catalyze the adoption of new approaches to reduce biological risks associated with advances in technology. This page describes the working group on Insurance Incentives for Reducing Biological Risks. For more information about the other working groups, visit the Biosecurity Innovation and Risk Reduction Initiative project page.
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Standards for Funders, Grantees, and Publishers to Identify and Mitigate Biological Risks

In 2019, NTI and its Biosecurity Innovation and Risk Reduction Initiative partners will launch five working groups to engage new stakeholders, identify urgent actions, and catalyze the adoption of new approaches to reduce biological risks associated with advances in technology. This page describes the working group on Standards for Funders, Grantees, and Publishers to Identify and Mitigate Biological Risks. For more information about the other working groups, visit the Biosecurity Innovation and Risk Reduction Initiative project page.
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Establishing a Seal of Approval to Incentivize the Adoption of Biosecurity Norms

In 2019, NTI and its Biosecurity Innovation and Risk Reduction Initiative partners will launch five working groups to engage new stakeholders, identify urgent actions, and catalyze the adoption of new approaches to reduce biological risks associated with advances in technology. This page describes the working group on Establishing a Seal of Approval to Incentivize the Adoption of Biosecurity Norms. For more information about the other working groups, visit the Biosecurity Innovation and Risk Reduction Initiative project page.
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Financial Incentives for Biotechnology Investors to Improve Biosecurity

In 2019, NTI and its Biosecurity Innovation and Risk Reduction Initiative partners will launch five working groups to engage new stakeholders, identify urgent actions, and catalyze the adoption of new approaches to reduce biological risks associated with advances in technology. This page describes the working group on Financial Incentives for Biotechnology Investors to Improve Biosecurity. For more information about the other working groups, visit the Biosecurity Innovation and Risk Reduction Initiative project page.
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Common Mechanism to Prevent Illicit Gene Synthesis

In 2019, NTI and its Biosecurity Innovation and Risk Reduction Initiative partners will launch five working groups to engage new stakeholders, identify urgent actions, and catalyze the adoption of new approaches to reduce biological risks associated with advances in technology. This page describes the working group on developing a Common Mechanism to Prevent Illicit Gene Synthesis. For more information about the other working groups, visit the Biosecurity Innovation and Risk Reduction Initiative project page.
Atomic Pulse
NTI News

NTI Launches New Global Biosecurity Innovation and Risk Reduction Initiative

NTI | bio, partnering with experts from around the world, launched the NTI Biosecurity Innovation and Risk Reduction Initiative in Cambridge, Massachusetts on October 29. The multi-year project seeks to identify, develop, publicize, and promote concrete and normative actions to reduce global catastrophic biological risks associated with advances in technology.
Event

Biosecurity Innovation and Risk Reduction Initiative Launch

Cambridge, Massachusetts
NTI | bio, partnering with experts from around the world, launched the NTI Biosecurity Innovation and Risk Reduction Initiative in Cambridge, Massachusetts on October 29. The multi-year project seeks to identify, develop, publicize, and promote concrete and normative actions to reduce global catastrophic biological risks associated with advances in technology.

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