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Internal News - 23 December 2008

New funding for research into the control of biological weapons and bioterrorism

Dr Alexander Kelle from the Department of European Studies & Modern Languages has been awarded a grant in collaboration with researchers at the Universities of Bradford and Exeter to study the use of the products of biological research in warfare and bioterrorism.

The grant of approximately £350,000 was awarded as part of the Wellcome Trust’s Enhancement Awards in Biomedical Ethics scheme and will be used to strengthen collaborations and support new research fellowships and studentships.

Dr Alexander Kelle will be working on the project with Professor Malcolm Dando and colleagues at the University of Bradford’s Department of Peace Studies, together with Dr Brian Rappert in the Department of Sociology & Philosophy, University of Exeter.

Their aim is to enable more bioethical research into so-called ‘dual-use’ of the life sciences, and help develop policies and practices that will prevent the misuse of knowledge generated through biomedical research.

It is an emerging research area, and the Enhancement Award will help provide career opportunities for young researchers, including doctoral students who will begin their studies in autumn 2009, increase long-term capacity, engage practising life scientists with these issues, and provide a basis for developing effective policies in the future.

The Wellcome Trust funds research into ethical issues that arise in the development and delivery of healthcare in the UK and developing countries. It also helps to ensure that the findings of biomedical ethics research are passed on to policy makers and healthcare practitioners to help inform their decisions.

Clare Matterson, the Wellcome Trust’s Director of Medicine, Society and History, said: “The nature of biomedical research means it is constantly challenging our ideas about the world, ourselves and our health.

“Research into ethical issues surrounding medical science and healthcare is essential if our society is going to be able to make informed decisions about research and medicine.”

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