NTI | bio, partnering with experts from around the world, launched the 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.
“It is imperative to recognize both the important benefits and the risks associated with advances in biotechnology,” said NTI Co-Chair and CEO Ernest J. Moniz. “This initiative engages the global technical community to develop concrete actions now that allow us to reduce the risk of accidental or deliberate misuse and create new opportunities for biosecurity innovation.”
Participants included global leaders in the related fields of genomics, virology, microbiology, security, bioethics, research funding, and science publishing.
Recognizing that advances in biotechnology are rapidly outpacing the ability of governments to provide effective oversight, Initiative participants--including leading technical experts and organizations such as Wellcome Trust, the World Economic Forum, and the World Health Organization—discussed the vision and actions that would guide the effort and agreed to take forward specific proposals for researchers, institutions, companies, and investors to reduce risks. The proposals include incentives and new mechanisms for the technical community and the private sector to prevent misuse and promote a safer, more secure pursuit of biotechnology innovation to benefit society. Among them:
- A universal platform to prevent illicit gene synthesis
- Financial incentives for biotechnology investors to improve biosecurity
- Standards for funders and grantees to identify and mitigate biological risks
- Insurance incentives for reducing biological risks
- Seals of approval for experts and institutions who adhere to biosecurity best practices.
In 2019, NTI and its partners will organize working groups composed of Initiative members and other subject-matter experts to further refine proposed new actions, consider pilot projects to demonstrate their feasibility, and develop strategies for widespread adoption.
This NTI effort is made possible through generous support from the .
About the Nuclear Threat Initiative
The Nuclear Threat Initiative works to protect our lives, environment, and quality of life now and for future generations. We work to prevent catastrophic attacks with weapons of mass destruction and disruption (WMDD)—nuclear, biological, radiological, chemical, and cyber.