The 2020 Innovations Dialogue: Life Sciences, International Security and Disarmament

Virtual, WebEx
20-21 August 2020
The 2020 Innovations Dialogue: Life Sciences, International Security and Disarmament

The United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) is pleased to invite you to the 2020 Innovations Dialogue.

How are innovations in the life sciences impacting international security and disarmament? What governance gaps exist in the life sciences, and what new, if any, multilateral governance instruments are needed to address dual-use technologies? How can emerging technologies and advances be effectively (or appropriately) addressed in disarmament agendas? 

This year the Innovations Dialogue will explore how scientific and technological advances in the life sciences can offer new ways to address global challenges, such as the spread of infectious diseases, and pose new threats related to the development of biological weapons. Specifically, the Dialogue will explore how particular advances – gene editing techniques, cloud labs and the rise of DIY bio community, and nanobiotechnology – are revolutionizing tools for the potential creation, production and delivery of biological weapons. The Dialogue will also examine the challenges that dual-use innovations and trends in the life sciences present for current multilateral governance and arms control frameworks.


20 August 13:30 (CET) and 21 August 9:30 (CET), Online


UNIDIR encourages the participation of representatives and experts working on or interested in issues pertaining to the implications of scientific and technological advances in the life sciences for international peace and security.




Speakers’ presentations

Keynote Address – Mitigating Risks, Harnessing Benefits and Demystifying Myths of Innovation in the Life Sciences
Andrew Hessel, President, Humane Genomics Inc. and Co-founder and Chairman, Genome Project-write

Creation – Gene-editing /CRISPR
Pawan K. Dhar
, Professor and Dean, School of Biotechnology, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Piers Millett,Vice President, iGEM Foundation and Senior Research Fellow, Future of Humanity Institute, University of Oxford

Production – Cloud Labs and DIYbio
Todd Kuiken
, Senior Research Scholar, Genetic Engineering & Society Center, North Carolina State University
Peter Lee, Director of Science and Technology, Strateos

Delivery – Nanobiotechnology Applications for Delivery
Xian-en Zhang
, Distinguished Professor, Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Steffi Friedrichs, Director, AcumenIST

Panel – Multilateral Governance of Innovation, Science & Tech in the Life Sciences
Cheng Tang, Former Chair of OPCW’s Scientific Advisory Board and presently Adviser to the Chinese National Authority for the Chemical Weapons Convention – Office for the Implementation of the CWC, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the People’s Republic of China


20 August 2020

21 August 2020