What are the Tianjin Biosecurity Guidelines?

The Tianjin Biosecurity Guidelines for Codes of Conduct for Scientists are a set of principles aimed at promoting the responsible use of bioscience research for the benefit of humankind. These guidelines provide a framework for scientists and scientific institutions to prevent the misuse of biological knowledge, tools, and technologies. Join us in promoting ethical and safe bioscience research by signing the guidelines today.

In this roleplaying challenge, you will take on the role of different stakeholders in the biosecurity realm, that face different dilemmas in their everyday lives.

Your decisions will reshape the world we live in.

Will you be able to save the world from the misuse of bioscience research without hindering its beneficial outcomes?

The fate of humanity rests in your hands.

Discover the Guidelines

1. Ethical Standards

Scientists should respect human life and relevant social ethics. They have a special responsibility to use biosciences for peaceful purposes that benefit humankind, to promote a culture of responsible conduct in biosciences and to guard against the misuse of science for malicious purposes, including harm to the environment.

2. Laws and Norms

Scientists should be aware of and observe applicable domestic laws and regulations, international legal instruments, and norms relating to biological research, including those on the prohibition of biological weapons. Scientists and their professional bodies are encouraged to contribute to the establishment and further development and strengthening of relevant legislation.

3. Responsible Conduct of Research

Scientists should promote scientific integrity and strive to prevent misconduct in research. They should be aware of the multiple applications of biological sciences, including their potential use for developing biological weapons. Measures should be taken to prevent the misuse and negative impacts of biological products, data, expertise, or equipment.

4. Respect for Research Participants

Scientists have a responsibility to protect the welfare of both human and non-human research participants and to apply the highest ethical standards in research conduct, with full respect for the subjects of research.

5. Research Process Management

Scientists should identify and manage potential risks when they pursue the benefits of biological research and processes. They should consider potential biosecurity concerns at all stages of scientific research. Scientists and scientific institutions should put in place oversight mechanisms and operational rules to prevent, mitigate, and respond to risks, and establish a culture of safety and security.

6. Education and Training

Scientists, along with their professional associations in industry and academia, should work to maintain a well-educated, fully trained scientific community that is well versed in relevant laws, regulations, international obligations and norms.
Education and training of staff at all levels should consider the input of experts from multiple fields, including social and human sciences, to provide a more robust understanding of the implications of biological research. Scientists should receive ethical training on a regular basis.

7. Research Findings Dissemination

Scientists should be aware of potential biosecurity risks that might result from deliberate misuse of their research. Scientists and scientific journals should strike a balance when disseminating research findings between maximizing benefits and minimizing harm and communicate widely the beneficial aspects of research while minimizing potential risks that could result from such publication.

8. Public Engagement on Science and Technology

Scientists and scientific organizations should play an active role in encouraging public understanding and interest in biological science and technology, including its potential benefits and risks. They should communicate scientific facts and address concerns, uncertainties and misunderstandings to maintain public trust. Scientists should advocate for peaceful and ethical applications of the biosciences and work collectively to prevent misuse of biological knowledge, tools, and technologies.

9. Role of Institutions

Scientific institutions, including research, funding, and regulatory bodies, should be aware of the potential for misuse of bioscience research, and ensure that expertise, equipment, and facilities are not used for illegal, harmful, or malicious purposes at any stage of bioscience work. They should establish appropriate mechanisms and processes to monitor, assess, and mitigate potential vulnerabilities and risks in scientific activities and dissemination, and establish a training system for scientists.
The Tianjin Biosecurity Guidelines for Codes of Conduct for Scientists | 3

10. International Cooperation

Scientists and scientific institutions are encouraged to cooperate internationally and to collaborate in the pursuit of peaceful innovations in and applications of the biosciences. They should promote learning and exchange opportunities to share best practices in biosecurity. They are encouraged to actively provide relevant expertise and assistance in response to potential biosecurity threats.

Spread the word with our communication materials

Useful links and external resources

Leading authoring institution for the Guidelines: Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

IAP Endorses Tianjin Biosecurity Guidelines (2021)

Tianjin Biosecurity Guidelines for codes of conduct for scientists: Promoting responsible sciences and strengthening biosecurity governance (2021)

The Biological Weapons Convention should endorse the Tianjin Biosecurity Guidelines for Codes of Conduct (2022)

Key issues in the implementation of the Tianjin Biosecurity Guidelines for Codes of Conduct for Scientists: A survey of biosecurity education projects (2022)

WHO Deems Tianjin Biosecurity Guidelines High-level Principle (2022)

Working Paper on The Tianjin Biosecurity Guidelines for Codes of Conduct for Scientists (2021)

Follow-up to the recommendations and decisions of the BWC Eighth Review Conference and the question of future review of the Convention (2022)

About this project

The “Advancing Global Biosecurity Governance through the Promotion of the Tianjin Biosecurity Guidelines” (Advancing Biosecurity) project stands as a joint initiative within the IAP Biosecurity Working Group, comprising representatives from four international academies (Global Young Academy, African Academy of Science, Caribbean Academy of Science, and Islamic World Academy of Science) and three national academies (Academia Nacional de Medicina de Buenos Aires, Argentina; National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, United States of America; and Pakistan Academy of Science). Our mission is to effectively contribute to the global dissemination of the “Tianjin Biosecurity Guidelines for Codes of Conduct for Scientists” among life scientists, research institutions, policymakers, and the non-specialist public. Our all-encompassing strategy incorporates sophisticated multimedia communication materials and a flexible communication strategy deployable by individuals or institutions. Additionally, we’ve developed a videogame-based training module, highlighting the vital role of ethical guidelines in life science research. Culminating in an in-person event at the Global Young Academy 2024 Annual General Assembly, the project is a pivotal step towards enhancing biosecurity awareness and fostering responsible scientific practices worldwide.

Contributors

Felix Moronta Barrios

Global Young Academy.

Italy

Contact: moronta@icgeb.org

Iqbal Parker

African Academy of Science.

South Africa

Nancy Connell

National Academies of Science.

United States of America

Neela Badrie

Caribbean Academy of Science.

Trinidad and Tobago

Susana Goldstein Fink

Academia Nacional de Medicina.

Argentina

Zabta Shinwari

Islamic World Academy of Science.

Pakistan Academy of Science.

Pakistan