Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security Commends the Interacademy Partnership for Endorsing Tianjin Biosecurity Guidelines for Codes of Conduct for Scientists
July 14, 2021 – Advances in the biological sciences bring about wellbeing for humanity, but the same advances could be misused, particularly for the development and proliferation of biological weapons.
Since January 2021, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security has worked with Tianjin University, the Interacademy Partnership, with support from the US Department of State and the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to develop the Tianjin Biosecurity Guidelines for Codes of Conduct for Scientists. The Codes of Conduct outline a set of guiding principles and standards of conduct for all involved in the biological sciences to guard against the misuse of biology and the development of biological weapons. The Tianjian Biosecurity Guidelines will help to prevent misuse of bioscience research without hindering beneficial outcomes, in accordance with the articles and norms of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, and in advancement of progress towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
On July 8, 2021, the Interacademy Partnership officially endorsed the Tianjin Biosecurity Guidelines for Codes of Conduct for Scientists.
To develop the guidelines and refine the text, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security convened two meetings of international experts from 16 different countries across 4 continents, including life science practitioners and researchers on governance, to discuss a draft of the Tianjin Biosecurity Guidelines. During both meetings, held on April 8 and May 26, 2021, experts commented on the draft provisions and offered refinements to the text.
“The Tianjin Guidelines describe the ways in which scientists are all responsible for promoting biosecurity and protecting against the misuse of the biological sciences. IAP’s endorsement is a clear indication that these guidelines are important for all scientists and that they should be part of their codes of conduct,” explained Dr. Gigi Kwik Gronvall, senior scholar, who has led the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security efforts towards the guidelines. “We have to harness this momentum to educate more scientists about the guidelines so that they may be widely used and shared.”
The Interacademy Partnership is the umbrella organization of 140 national, regional, and global academies of science, including the US National Academies of Science. IAP aims to advance sound policies, improve public health, promote excellence in science education, and achieve other critical development goals.