Eighth Annual Next Generation for Biosecurity Competition Open for Applications

Next Generation For Biosecurity

The Eighth Annual Next Generation for Biosecurity Competition is now open. NTI | bio hosts this competition to provide a platform for the next generation of global leaders in biosecurity to develop original concepts and share them with the wider biosecurity community. This year’s co-sponsors include 80,000 Hours, the Global Health Security Network, the iGEM Foundation, the International Federation of Biosafety Associations, the Next Generation Global Health Security Network, Pandemic Action Network, SynBio Africa, and Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security, and Conflict Transformation.

This year, the competition invites innovative and creative papers focused on how investments in biosecurity can both contribute to a more equitable society and reduce biological risks. The full prompt is provided below.

Winners of the Biosecurity Competition will be awarded the following:

  • Online publication of their paper on the NTI website
  • The opportunity to attend a high-profile international biosecurity event, such as the Biological Weapons Convention, and present their paper at a prestigious side event.


The world is increasingly vulnerable to biological threats. Trends in urbanization, global travel and trade, environmental degradation, and continued state and non-state interest in biological weapons make epidemics and pandemics more likely. Rapid advances in bioscience and biotechnology outpace the ability of national governments and the international community to provide effective oversight, which increases the potential for misuse with catastrophic consequences[i].

The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated how biological events can lead to tremendous loss of life, severe economic damage, and sociopolitical instability around the globe, deepening pre-existing health disparities. It has also highlighted the impacts of systemic inequities at sub-national, national, and global levels on pandemic preparedness. The burden of risk is not evenly shared, where certain groups (such as women, Indigenous peoples, and certain communities within low- and middle-income countries) are more adversely affected by outbreaks regardless of the source of the event. These groups may experience poorer health outcomes, greater economic losses, greater workplace burdens, and greater security risks in times of conflict.

Successful biosecurity policies and practices can minimize the risk of pandemics and other catastrophic biological events that disproportionately impact vulnerable populations, with the goal of eliminating them entirely. Recognizing the interplay between inequities and security is crucial for a comprehensive and effective approach to reducing biological risks. Going forward, governments should consider how the concept of equity can be most effectively integrated into biosecurity policies and practices.

Competition Prompt:

Given this background, applicants should tailor their submission to address the following question:

How does equitable biosecurity investment effectively reduce biological risks?

Submissions should:

  • Discuss how systemic inequities hamper countries’ abilities to prevent, detect, and respond to biological threats, including deliberate events. Submissions can consider:
    • The impact of inequities at one or more of the following levels: community, workplace, national governance, or global governance levels.
  • Discuss how integrating equity into biosecurity investments and practices can enhance biological threat reduction. Submissions can consider:
    • How equitable biosecurity is implemented across professional sectors, levels of governance, different regions, or other relevant contexts
    • How equitable biosecurity implementation can be carried out in a way that increases meaningful participation by and leadership of underrepresented or marginalized groups and individuals, leading to more effective risk-reduction outcomes.
  • Develop recommendations and/or structures that countries and organizations should adopt to encourage equitable biosecurity implementation with the goal of maximizing the risk-reduction impacts of their work. Submissions can consider one or more of the following:
    • The role that groups such as the Global Partnership, the Biological Weapons Convention Implementation Support Unit, and other security organizations play in cooperation with health-focused entities like WHO
    • The roles of funding bodies (such as development banks, multilateral funding mechanisms) and governmental partners (such as Government of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy) in modeling equitable biosecurity development
    • Methods of partnership with or outreach to local and global biosecurity stakeholders that would encourage equitable biosecurity development by high-income countries
    • New and existing progress and/or outcome indicators that may demonstrate the effective implementation of equity-based interventions in biosecurity pledged by countries and organizations over time.[ii]

For the purposes of this competition, please use the following definition for biosecurity:

  • Biosecurity – successful minimizing of the risks that the biological sciences will be deliberately or accidentally misused in a way which causes harm for humans, animals, plants or the environment, including through awareness and understanding of the risks.[iii]


  • Teams must have three participants and include members from two or more countries and/or regions. Teams with representation from different sectors or fields of work/study are strongly encouraged.
  • Applicants must be currently enrolled in an academic institution or have less than five years of professional experience.
  • Applicants must be 18 years or older.


  • Teams must submit two PDF documents:
    • Competition Proposal – a complete submission guideline, including formatting and word-count requirements, can be found here.
    • Resumes – a single, combined PDF with the resumes of each team member (3 in total) – each resume should be two pages maximum.
  • All submissions must be in English.
  • Participants are highly encouraged to consult with at least one expert in the field of biosecurity and/or biosafety, life sciences, or another related field. Consultation with this expert MUST be listed in the references section of the final report.


The submission deadline is SUNDAY, JUNE 2, 2024, at 11:59PM ET. Teams should submit their papers here.

  • March 14, 2024 – Call for Submissions Open
  • March 27, 2024 – Event: Informational Webinar
  • June 2, 2024 – Call for Submissions Deadline
  • First Week of July 2024 – Author Notification
  • Mid-August 2024 – Public Announcement of Winners


Submissions are evaluated through a three-part process:

  1. Proposal Checklist: Submissions are compared against a checklist to determine if they meet all the eligibility requirements detailed above.
  2. International Judging Panel Evaluations: Submissions that meet eligibility requirements are sent to our international, multisectoral panel of judges that includes biosafety, biosecurity, and bioeconomy experts from around the world. They judge and score submissions based on a predetermined rubric. All submissions are anonymized to avoid any conflict of interest.
  3. Judging Roundtable: The judging panel meets to discuss the top scoring papers and vote for a winner and honorable mentions.


Participants can find teammates by:

  • Completing the 2024 Next Generation for Biosecurity Interest Form. Once you have completed this form, you may find potential teammates here.
  • Joining the 2024 Biosecurity Competition Team Finder group on WhatsApp.


On March 27, NTI hosted a virtual webinar which included an overview of the 2024 Next Generation for Biosecurity Competition and a moderated discussion with an expert panel. The webinar was recorded, and is available on YouTube.


You can find more information on this year’s co-sponsors here.

[i] Homepage – GHS Index

[ii] For an example of existing progress indicators, see the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Biosafety and Biosecurity tool, developed by the International Federation of Biosafety Associations (IFBA):


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