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Joint Committee on Dual Use

Anchoring Security-Relevant Aspects of Research in Education and Teaching

To raise awareness of the ethical dimensions of security-relevant research at an early stage, universities and other higher education institutions should incorporate the topic in their teaching and in the curricula of all relevant courses of study.

A three-stage procedure could be appropriate for this purpose: Bachelor degree courses could include interdisciplinary security-relevant aspects of research in general lectures on “good scientific practice” and on basic issues of ethics in science. Master degree courses could then include seminars on the specific ethical and security-relevant aspects of their own subject, both on the theoretical level and using case studies. PhD candidates, postgraduates and staff involved in research could additionally be instructed on the specific risks of their research in group seminars, further training measures, summer schools or graduate schools.

The following section lists some good practice examples of current measures to raise awareness of the dual use dilemma:

University of Tübingen: Ethics is a mandatory module of the Institute of Ethics, Theory, and History of the Life Sciences in the Bachelor of Science biology degree programme

Universität Hamburg: “Biomedical Ethics” is mandatory in the Bachelor of molecular life sciences degree programme; elective modules “Biomedical Ethics” and “Responsible Conduct in the Life Sciences” in the Masters’ degree programme; see BSc Molecular Life Science syllabus and MSc Molecular Life Science syllabus

Range of courses of the Ethics in Information Technology department included seminars and lectures on the topics of “Philosophy, Society and IT”, “Digitalisation and Society” and “Ethics and IT”.

Hamburg University of Technology: Wide range of non-technical supplementary courses including “Responsible Conduct in Technology and Science”, “Ethics for Engineers”, “Ethics and Science” and “Technological Impact Assessment and Technological Development”; see list of modules for Bachelor degree programmes and Masters’ degree programmes for summer semester 2018

Technische Universität Darmstadt: interdisciplinary lecture series “The Dark Side of Chemistry” in the winter semester 2018/19.

Technical University of Munich: Interdisciplinary overview seminar for students of engineering and natural sciences in summer semester 2018 “Ethics and Responsible Conduct”; lecture in summer semester 2018 “Ethics in Science and Technology, Part 2”

University of Cologne: Interdisciplinary seminar “Ethics and Physics” in summer semester 2018 to address the ethical implications of research in physics

Technical University of Dortmund: Interdisciplinary seminar “Information Technology and Ethics” with case studies in summer semester 2018

University of Freiburg: Seminar in winter semester 2015/16 “Computer Ethics” addressing both topic of dual use and various codes of conduct

iGEM-Team Bielefeld: Seminar and information page on the topic „Dual Use and Dual Use Research of Concern: Between Science Misuse of Science and Science Communication“

Federation of American Scientists (USA): Self-study module with case studies on dual use in the biosciences

University of Bath: Next Generation Biosecurity: Responding to 21st Century Biorisks; online course

University of Bradford (UK): Module on bioethical aspects of dual use

Office of the United Nations in Geneva (Switzerland): Selection of literature and links to raise awareness and provide educational materials on biosecurity

If you have any information on other seminars or further training courses on the ethics of security-relevant research, we, at the Joint Committee office, would be pleased to hear from you.


Joint Committee on the Handling of Security-Relevant Research, DFG and Leopoldina

Office c/o ABC Business Center (4. OG)
Friedrichstraße 79
10117 Berlin

Dr. Johannes Fritsch

Dr. Johannes Fritsch

Head of the Office

phone: +49 (0) 160 9121 2676
email: johannes.fritsch@leopoldina.org

Lena Diekmann

Lena Diekmann

Project Coordinator

phone: +49 (0)170 79 206 49
email: lena.diekmann@leopoldina.org

Dr. Anita Krätzner-Ebert

Dr. Anita Krätzner-Ebert

Scientific Officer

phone: +49 (0) 175 293 3935
email: anita.kraetzner-ebert@leopoldina.org

Dr. Katarina Timofeev

Contact at the German Research Foundation

phone: +49 (0) 228 - 885 2591
fax: +49 (0) 228 - 885 713 320
email: dual-use@dfg.de

Dr. Ingrid Ohlert

Contact at the German Research Foundation

phone: +49 (0) 228 - 885 2258
fax: +49 (0) 228 - 885 713 320
email: ingrid.ohlert@dfg.de