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Deadline Extended: NTI and the NextGen GHS Network Launch 4th Annual Next Generation for Biosecurity Competition

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NTI | bio and partners have updated this description and extended the deadline of the 2020 Next Generation for Biosecurity Competition to August 26, 2020 at midnight EDT.

NTI | bio is partnering with the Next Generation Global Health Security (GHS) Network to launch the fourth annual Next Generation for Biosecurity Competition to foster biosecurity professional development within the Next Generation GHS Network and to advance Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) biosecurity-related targets. We are seeking innovative and creative papers for online publication by NTI | bio and the NextGen GHS Network focused on biosecurity related to COVID-19 and future outbreaks/pandemics. In addition to publication, the winning team will have the opportunity to present during a virtual side-event of the 2020 GHSA Ministerial*, which has shifted to an online format, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated travel restrictions. Each winning team member will also receive an award, up to $2,500 each, based on the number of selected winners. The judging panel may award additional teams with the opportunity for publication and financial awards up to $1,500 per team member.

Submissions should address the following question and subordinate considerations:

What are technical and/or political actions global health security community stakeholders should take either nationally or internationally to reduce biosecurity-related risks associated with COVID-19 and future outbreaks/pandemics?

  • Submissions should invoke the Global Health Security Index and GHSA Joint External Evaluation findings as well as other publicly available data sources to identify potential biosafety and/or biosecurity gaps or opportunities using quantitative and qualitative analyses. For the purposes of this competition, biosecurity and biosafety are defined by the target and indicators outlined within the Joint External Evaluation Tool of the World Health Organization [1] and the GHSA Action Package on biosecurity and biosafety (APP3). In general, the term “biosecurity” refers to measures that are taken to protect and control access to—and prevent theft and diversion of—dangerous biological materials and toxins, as well as oversight for dual-use research. The term “biosafety” refers to measures that are taken to protect people from exposure to dangerous biological materials and toxins.
  • Submissions should consider how advanced and emerging biotechnologies may increase or decrease potential biosafety or biosecurity risks.
  • Submissions should include high-level recommendations to strengthen national, regional, or global biosafety/biosecurity capacity amid the COVID-19 pandemic or subsequent global catastrophic biological events, regardless of source. Ideally, proposals could be implemented virtually/electronically and inform best practices for future outbreaks/pandemics.

ELIGIBILITY

  • Applicants must be current members of the Next Generation GHS Network. To become a member, click here.
  • Teams must have three participants and include members from two or more countries and/or regions. Multisectoral teams are strongly encouraged. Need a team? Complete this form, and identify potential teammates here.
  • Applicants must be currently enrolled in an academic institution or have less than five years professional experience.

SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS

  • A complete paper outline can be found here.
  • Participants must 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, and the expert’s curriculum vitae (one page) must be submitted with the final report.
  • All submissions must be in English and submitted as a single pdf with the three curriculum vitae as the last three pages of the document.

UPDATED DEADLINE: Submission deadline is August 26th, 2020 at 11:59PM ET. Submissions should be sent in pdf form to NTI via [email protected] AND via this Google Form.

COMPETITION GOALS

  • The Next Generation for Biosecurity Competition seeks to cultivate regional and global partnerships among Next Generation GHS professionals to:
  • Connect NextGen leaders interested in biosecurity and biosafety in accordance with GHSA biosafety and biosecurity targets;
  • Strengthen country and regional capabilities to achieve GHSA and WHO JEE biosecurity and biosafety targets;
  • Enhance awareness among rising and established global health security community stakeholders on the benefits and potential risks of biotechnology advances;
  • Promote regional and cross-regional collaboration in the biosecurity and biosafety fields;
  • Cultivate a global cadre of multi-sectoral professionals within the Next Generation GHS Network dedicated to reducing catastrophic biological risks and strengthening biosafety and biosecurity; and
  • Provide additional avenues for knowledge transfer to next generation biosafety and biosecurity professionals through mentorships and potential engagement with global health security experts in the field.

ABOUT THE SPONSORS

NTI is a nonprofit global security organization focused on reducing nuclear and biological threat imperiling humanity. NTI has addressed biosecurity issues since our founding in 2001. NTI | bio is developing new initiatives to curb global catastrophic biological risks, catalyze international biosecurity norms and innovation, enhance biosurveillance for emerging threats, and advocate for measurable biosecurity commitments as an integral component of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA).

The Next Generation Global Health Security (GHS) Network engages and facilitates contributions by emerging scholars, scientists, and professionals from government and non-governmental institutions to the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) and other global health security projects. Through its mission, the Next Generation Network promotes the values of education, innovation, and participation to approach and overcome the biggest challenges facing the health security fields today.

*NOTE: The side-event must first be confirmed by the 2020 GHSA Ministerial planning committee. Confirmation expected in early September.

[1] “A whole-of-government national biosafety and biosecurity system is in place, ensuring that especially dangerous pathogens are identified, held, secured and monitored in a minimal number of facilities according to best practices; biological risk management training and educational outreach are conducted to promote a shared culture of responsibility, reduce dual use risks, mitigate biological proliferation and deliberate use threats, and ensure safe transfer of biological agents; and country-specific biosafety and biosecurity legislation, laboratory licensing, and pathogen control measures are in place as appropriate.” (Joint External Evaluation Tool and Process Overview. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2016. License: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.)

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