Accepted Paper:

Emancipating neuroscience? Dual-use education and its implications for the Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions  


Gerald Walther (Institute for Science Ethics and Innovation)
Malcolm Dando (University of Bradford)

Paper long abstract:

With the advances in neuroscience in the 21st century, there is an increased risk that this research could be used for non-peaceful purposes by state or non-state actors. The latter issue is generally referred to as the dual-use problem, which has created a debate among scientists and security experts about the duties and responsibilities of researchers. While this discussion predominantly discusses issues arising from microbiology research, it has not created much interest in the neuroscience community. In order to spark a debate, a project on how to improve ethics education for neuroscientists was carried out which led to the development of an open access, on-line 12 lectures module. While the project delivered this practical tool, it also raised questions about emancipation as well as power and its emergence. The paper analyses how the discussion of the issue of dual-use has led to a power struggle between security experts and the scientific community on what is acceptable when publishing scientific results. While this dissensus is primarily one-sided, security questioning science, the project and the module aimed to provide a counter-narrative by enabling science to question and point out deficits within the security arena.

Panel C4
Non-concerns about science and technology and within STS