NTI Announces Dr. Piers Millett as Inaugural Executive Director of New International Biosecurity Organization, IBBIS

NTI is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Piers Millett as the founding executive director of the International Biosecurity and Biosafety Initiative for Science (IBBIS), a new organization that will work collaboratively with global partners to strengthen biosecurity norms and develop innovative tools to uphold them.

Advances in bioscience and biotechnology offer tremendous benefits for fighting disease, protecting the environment, and promoting economic development. At the same time, innovations in this area can pose heightened risks of accidental or deliberate misuse, with potentially catastrophic consequences. IBBIS will be the first international organization with the primary mission of strengthening bioscience governance and reducing emerging biological risks associated with advances in technology.

“Our vision for IBBIS is to build a world in which bioscience can flourish safely and responsibly,” said NTI Co-Chair and CEO Ernest J. Moniz. “Piers brings tremendous credibility and expertise to help stand up this vitally important new organization at a time when biological risks are growing.”

Millett is an internationally recognized expert in global biological risk reduction with nearly 25 years of science policy experience. As the vice president for responsibility at the iGEM Foundation (International Genetically Engineered Machines Competition), he is deeply integrated into the synthetic biology community. He helped shape and implement policies to safeguard science and technology in his work with the United Nations—including the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and the World Health Organization (WHO)—as well as with the UK government. Millett is the director and co-founder of Biosecure Ltd, a consultancy that helps safeguard the bioeconomy.

“Piers has tremendous experience working with governments, international organizations, industry, and academia to use biotechnology to its full potential, while guarding against risks,” said NTI Vice President of Global Biological Policy and Programs Dr. Jaime Yassif. “He is a big-picture thinker adept at bridging the scientific research and policy communities, and we look forward to IBBIS’ many contributions to biosecurity with Piers at the helm.”

Millett is a consultant to the WHO, and a senior research fellow at Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute. Previously, he served as the Acting Head of the BWC Implementation Support Unit and as a bioterrorism subject matter expert for national and international security and law enforcement bodies. He also helped develop the international bio-risk management standard.

“I am thrilled to lead IBBIS as its inaugural Executive Director and work collaboratively with industry and governments to develop tools and solutions that can fill critical biosecurity gaps so we can address emerging biological risks as they arise,” said Millett. “My hope is that IBBIS can be a resource and partner for stakeholders across the globe working to advance the life sciences and grow the bioeconomy, so we move the field forward together, safely and responsibly.”

Millett holds an International Relations and Affairs PhD, an MRes in Research Methodology, and an MA in International Politics and Security Studies, all from the University of Bradford. He has a BSc in Microbiology from the University of Leeds.

Millett will participate in his first public event as executive director this week in Berlin, Germany on the sidelines of the G7 Global Partnership meeting. He will initially serve as a consultant to NTI | bio until IBBIS is established as an independent legal entity.

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