Social Science subproject
Biological situations differ, among other things, in their dynamics and the range of known (and unknown) agents from situations that are the result of one-off events, such as the release of radioactivity. Attempts to understand biological threats are often made from a microbiological or infection epidemiological perspective. In fact, for an understanding of such risks, it is also of great importance how biological threats and/or already existing situations of different genesis and intensity are perceived by the population, institutions and expert societies (which can also influence biological risks in a complex way, e.g. by producing knowledge that can be misused) and how this affects the manifestation of the harmful effects. In addition, the state's potential for coping with complex threats and damage situations is also an important influencing factor for the assessment and treatment of risks.
Social science approaches can help to better integrate these aspects into risk assessment. Despite better identification of parameters for risk analysis, dealing with ignorance in advance and in dealing with particular biological situations will remain a challenge.
The social science subproject will illuminate these political and sociological dimensions of biological risks. To this end, the three research questions outlined below will be examined.
Subproject manager: Dr. Gunnar Jeremias
Governance von Dual-Use Research of Concern (DURC)
Research and development in the field of biology has made great progress in recent decades. While this research makes a major contribution to the protection of health and the environment, there is also a fear that some of the research could be misused for non-peaceful activities.
Experiments that fall into the category of Dual-Use Research of Concern, i.e. those that are considered particularly susceptible to misuse, are the focus of current discussions.
Against this background, the question arises how to prevent the misuse of research results? Which measures help to identify potential risks early on, how can they be countered and how can such measures be implemented in scientific practice?
Contact person: Jan Opper
Multi-Level Security Governance of biological threats and incidents
Which actors are involved in the risk analysis and crisis management of biological threats and incidents and which coordination instruments are used for this purpose?
Due to the federal security architecture and the departmental principle of the Federal Republic of Germany, there is a heterogeneous network of authorities, responsibilities and coping capacities with regard to biological situations. Other political and civil society actors are also involved.
The aim of this research question is to identify these actors, their coping potentials as well as vertical and horizontal coordination mechanisms with the help of the approach of multi-level security governance and, if necessary, to identify protection gaps and make recommendations for optimization.
Contact person: Helge Martin