EBRC Malice Analysis Workshop: Assessing Biotechnology Research for Security Concerns

Biosecurity is one of the active areas of involvement for Inscripta. To strengthen our connections with the community, share our approach to biosecurity, and learn from others, our company became a member of the Engineering Biology Research Consortium (EBRC), a non-profit organization committed to advancing engineering biology. The EBRC aims to foster an inclusive community by encouraging conversation and actions between government, academic, and industry organizations.

As a part of its mission, EBRC has four focus areas: Research Roadmapping, Education, Policy & International Engagement, and Security. Inscripta is an active participant in many EBRC initiatives, including sharing our insight and expertise in the development of publications, white papers, workshops, and especially in the EBRC Security Working Group, which is working to build, expand, and support the incorporation of a security mindset into all aspects of engineering biology research and development.

The EBRC Security Working Group puts on regular events to advance biosecurity in the context of the growing engineering biology field and facilitate dialogue between researchers and government stakeholders. EBRC’s flagship security program, Malice Analysis: Assessing Biotechnology Research for Security Concerns, which has been sponsored in the past by the Department of Homeland Security, trains participants to understand why thinking about security is important, to critically evaluate research for potential security concerns, and aim to increase security awareness in the engineering biology community at large.

The EBRC has two versions of Malice Analysis workshops: one geared toward academics, and one for industry professionals. Inscripta hosted one of the first industry-focused Malice Analysis workshops in June 2021, which focused on safe, responsible, and secure research and development.

These events aim to “encourage careful exploration of the impacts of research and development and the ways that products or technologies might be misused by nefarious actors.” Inscripta was the first genome engineering company to participate, providing input to help shape the workshop series towards the security needs of the rapidly advancing field of genome engineering.

Inscripta also contributes to EBRC projects that promote education, awareness, and open conversation between diverse stakeholders, including developing guidance documents for engineering biology researchers and briefing materials for federal and private research funders.

Inscripta hopes the Malice Analysis workshops will serve as a model for building security awareness, communication, and collaboration amongst all members of the engineering biology community. You can find out more about the events here.