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K-State Today

September 24, 2015

K-State forms oversight committee in response to government policy on dual use research of concern

Submitted by Karen Burg

The U.S. government has mandated a new requirement for institutional review and oversight of any life science activities that are considered to be dual use research, or DUR, as well as identification of activities that may rise to a more concerning level called dual use research of concern, or DURC.

Dual use research comprises life science research conducted for legitimate purposes with agents that could be used for harmful as well as benevolent purposes. The government has identified 15 specific potential dual use research agents, including highly pathogenic avian influenza. According to the official policy, dual use research of concern is "life sciences research that, based on current understanding, can be reasonably anticipated to provide knowledge, information, products or technologies that could be directly misapplied to pose a significant threat with broad potential consequences to public health and safety, agricultural crops and other plants, animals, the environment, material or national security."

Accordingly, the Office of the Vice President for Research and the University Research Compliance Office has formed an oversight committee made up of senior scientists and research administrators called the Institutional Review Entity. The committee will carefully review all research activities identified as dual use research or potentially as dual use research of concern. When appropriate, the committee will develop mitigation plans and procedures with K-State researchers and communicate results and plans with federal oversight and funding approval entities as necessary.

Information about dual use research, the new regulatory requirements and the K-State program for DUR/DURC oversight — including the members of the committee — is available on the University Research Compliance Office  website

Jerry Jaax is the K-State institutional contact for dual use research. Please contact him at jaax@k-state.edu, or contact University Research Compliance Office at 785-532-3224, for questions about the dual use research of concern review program.