OP#26: Findings from the 2016 Symposium on Export Control of Emerging Biotechnologies

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April 5, 2017
Steven Fairchild, Caroline R. M. Kennedy, Philippe Mauger, Todd J. Savage, and Raymond A. Zilinskas

Occasional Paper #26

Read the full Occasional Paper #26:
Findings from the 2016 Symposium on Export Control of Emerging Biotechnologies

Occasional Paper #26: Findings from the 2016 Symposium on Export Control of Emerging Biotechnologies

The Symposium on the Export Control of Emerging Biotechnologies was held during October 18-20, 2016 in Monterey, California, USA. Co-hosted by the International Biosecurity and Prevention Forum (IBPF) and the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, the symposium’s objectives were to identify emerging biotechnologies that are candidates for export control as well as effective mechanisms for their enforcement. A total of sixty experts from fifteen countries participated in the symposium. They represented the scientific, policy, industry, legal, and enforcement fields in roughly equal proportions. Attendees participated in one of nine working groups that were tasked with identifying emerging biotechnologies of concern and which, therefore, could be subject to realistic mechanisms for export control.

In the event, participants identified seventeen emerging biotechnologies and services and debated whether each posed significant biosecurity risks. Participants then assessed options for new hard controls (export controls) and soft approaches (e.g., industry codes-of-conducts). Most participants flagged four biotechnologies and associated services as engagement priorities: ground-based aerosol generating systems; DNA synthesis and assembly equipment; high-throughput screening systems; and facility-wide production control software. Findings from the symposium have been documented in a final report that was published in April 2017 as CNS Occasional Paper #26.

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