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Next Generation Biosecurity: Responding to 21st Century Biorisks

University of Bath via FutureLearn


Explore biosecurity and learn how to respond to biological threats

Today’s world is facing more biological threats than ever, from mutations to antibiotic resistance to new diseases and increased access to engineered diseases. It’s vital that scientific research is being carried out safely to protect those who work in the lab as well as wider communities.

On this course you will get an introduction to these issues, exploring biosecurity, biological threats and how to counter them in your work. You will also learn about responding to biological challenges and learn to examine issues in the lab.

This course is for professionals working in public and global health, international security, politics and international relations. It may be of particular use to biosafety officers in academia, industry or government, and early-career science scholars in the life sciences.


  • Introduction to Biosecurity
    • Welcome to Next Generation Biosecurity: Responding to 21st Century Biorisks
    • Biorisks in the 21st century
    • Overarching course concepts
    • What we have learned in Week One
  • Biological threats and challenges
    • Biological Threats and Challenges in the Twenty-First Century
    • The historical use of biological weapons
    • Developments and advances in the life sciences and their potential impact on biosecurity
    • What does a bad infectious disease outbreak look like?
    • How can we respond to a bad disease outbreak?
    • Laboratory accidents and the inadvertant release of pathogens
    • Cyberbiosecurity challenges
    • What have we learned?
  • Responding to biosecurity challenges: what you can do inside the lab
    • Managing biorisks in the laboratory
    • Biorisk management: core concepts and implementation
    • Biosecurity in practice: what laboratory biosecurity looks like around the world
    • Future governance of technology
    • Additional resources
    • What have we learned?
  • Responding to biosecurity challenges: what others are doing outside the lab
    • Biosecurity outside the lab: international frameworks and agreements
    • Discovering the international biosecurity frameworks
    • Allegations of use of biological weapons
    • Preparing for, and responding to, biological weapons use
    • Export controls: international agreements and national rules
    • Building sustainable partnerships between the scientific and law enforcement communities
    • What have we learned?
  • Responding to biosecurity challenges: the responsible conduct of science within the laboratory
    • Responding to biosecurity challenges: ethical considerations and responsible conduct
    • Bioethics and biosecurity: how can bioethics help mitigate biorisks in the lab?
    • Unpacking the responsible conduct of science
    • Dual-use, the dual-use dilemma and dual-use research of concern
    • What role can scientific organisations and professional associations play in biosecurity?
    • What is the role of industry in biosecurity?
    • What have we learned?
  • Biosecurity for the Next Generation review
    • Introduction to Week Six
    • Week One in review
    • Week Two in review
    • Week Three in review
    • Week Four in review
    • Week Five in review
    • Closing remarks, games, and post-course survey

Taught by

Kathryn Millett


4.6 rating at FutureLearn based on 37 ratings

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