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Dutch research needs security advice

A separate advisory committee should be appointed to assess the legitimacy of funding or publishing research with a potential security risk, the Dutch government has been told.

In a paper published on 3 December, the biosecurity committee appointed by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, KNAW, said that no existing committees or institutions are capable of assessing so-called dual-use research.

The group defines this research as that which has the potential to be misused or  pose an identifiable threat. KNAW was asked to investigate the issue by the Dutch state secretary for science, following a controversial debate in 2011 about research into the H5N1 bird flu virus, which some said would allow terrorists to develop it as a biological weapon.

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