The formulation and non formulation of security concerns: preventing the destructive application of the life sciences
Professor Brian Rappert, University of Exeter
Professor Brian Balmer, University College London
Professor Malcolm Dando, University of Bradford
Dr Sam Weiss Evans, University of California, Berkeley
Dr Chandre Gould, Institute for Security Studies
This Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project seeks empirically and theoretically to assess what is not taking place in relation to the analysis of the implications of science for security. It will study what is not taking place in different case studies related to the potential for life science knowledge and techniques to serve destructive purposes. Through doing so, the project will consider how such cases can inform other studies of emerging areas of concern and how they can inform empirical social research in general. A number of questions that address themes of ethical blindness, taken for granted assumptions, and the social basis of assessments will be central to this project, including:
- How, for who, between whom, and under what circumstances have some applications of science become rendered non-issues?
- What are the everyday routines, practices, social structures that shape this process?
- How have scientists, diplomats, security analysts, and others fostered attention to or distanced themselves from applications of their work?
The specific concern with the hostile application of the life sciences examined through the interdisciplinary programme of inquiry outlined in this application will serve as a springboard for addressing what is left outside professional and policy agendas. The ultimate impact anticipated from this project is to support efforts to prevent the malign use of life sciences and, thus, ensuring science and technology work to improve human security.
This project is part of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) Science and Security Programme, jointly funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). The Science and Security Programme is part of the wider RCUK Global Uncertainties Programme, which runs from 2008-2018.