Launch of Two New PaCCS Policy Briefings

Launch of Two New PaCCS Policy Briefings

In May and June 2016, we brought together a new group of academics, Government policy-makers, technologists, engineers, practitioners and representatives from Industry and Non-Governmental Organisations to discuss findings from security-related research including Science and Security – a programme of research jointly sponsored by ESRC, AHRC and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), under the Partnership for Conflict, Crime & Security Research (PaCCS).

Our workshops explored two different challenges associated with innovation – creating applied technologies out of the nation’s science-base that deliver real utility (meeting the needs of hard-pressed users) while avoiding unexpected consequences that can do more harm than good. This is, in other words, about both responsive and responsible research.

These workshops have led to the production of two new PaCCS Policy Briefings*, the latest ones to emerge from the “Science and Security” research programme:

(*Please click on the titles or images to view each of them)

• Transforming Research into Technology: Innovation for Defence and Security. The “geopolitical” mind-set that has shaped defence and security organisations for decades (if not centuries) is outdated and ill-suited to the dynamic, partially-visible, borderless, asymmetric nature of today’s security threats, where operations take place in poorly governed spaces and domestic places more than they do in any clearly defined battleground.


• Responsible Research and Development: The Ethics of Dangerous Science. Scientific advances could jeopardise human
security by introducing dangerous, life-threatening
capabilities (most obviously in Synthetic Biology and
Artificial Intelligence, but also in new technologies such as
Geo-Engineering). This is happening at a time when the
globalisation, privatisation and democratisation of R&D is
loosening the constraints on ethical and legal governance;
the established processes of regulation look outdated.

Both Briefings carry recommendations in response to challenges that have been identified. The strength of these documents derives from the way in which research insight has been debated by policy-makers and practitioners, giving a credibility and authority to our recommendations which deserve serious attention.