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Emerging Dual-use Technologies in the Life Sciences: Challenges and Policy Recommendations on Export Control

Mirko Himmel

Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Paper no. 64

September, 2019

This policy paper addresses the challenges of regulating emerging dual-use technologies in the life sciences. Export control measures can be used as a key governance instrument to prevent the unwanted proliferation of dual- use technologies. However, emerging technologies present certain challenges for conventional export control mechanisms due to the rapid development of various technologies and uncertainties about their potential use. The paper describes key elements of the European Union export control system and provides examples of select dual-use technologies in the life sciences that challenge this system. Recommendations are made in order to improve current EU strategic export control.


Mirko Himmel

Mirko Himmel (Germany) studied biochemistry and completed his PhD in cell biology. He is currently a scientist at the Centre for Science and Peace Research, University of Hamburg, Germany. His research is focused on preventive biological and chemical arms control. The laboratory- based work of his team is focused on the characterization of microbial infectious mechanisms. He also lectures on bioethics at the university and provides biosecurity advice.