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When talking to newcomers to the field of biosecurity, I often felt annoyed that there wasn't a single introductory resource I could point them to that gives an overview of all the biosecurity-relevant organizations, upskilling opportunities, and funders. 

With the help of a lot of contributors, I started this Google doc to provide such a resource. I'm sure that we missed some relevant organizations, and it'd be lovely if some people were to comment on the doc with additional information!

I'll copy the current version below, but please check out the link to the doc if you want to comment and see the most up-to-date version in the future!


Contributors: Max Görlitz, Simon Grimm, Andreas Prenner, Jasper Götting, Anemone Franz, Eva Siegmann, & more

Introduction

I would like to see something like aisafety.world for biosecurity. There already exists the Map of Biosecurity Interventions, but I want one for organizations!

This is a work-in-progress attempt to create a minimum viable product. Please suggest/comment on additional information, and feel free to add your name to the list of contributors. 

Also, see this Substack newsletter, “GCBR Organization Updates,” which provides a very useful overview and quarterly updates of biosecurity organizations.  

Policy

Think tanks

Europe

Explicitly focused on catastrophic or existential risks from pandemics

  • International Center for Future Generations (ICFG
    • is a European think-and-do-tank for improving societal resilience in relation to exponential technologies and existential risks.
    • Based in the Netherlands and Belgium
  • Simon Institute for Longterm Governance
    • SI's mission is to increase the capacity of policy networks to mitigate global catastrophic risks and build resilience for civilization to flourish.
    • Based in Geneva, Switzerland
  • Centre for Long-Term Resilience (CLTR)
    • an independent think tank with a mission to transform global resilience to extreme risks
    • London, UK
  • Center for Long-Term Policy (Langsikt)
    • Oslo-based think tank, similar to CLTR and Pour Demain, focused on Norway and possibly other Nordic countries. 
  • Future of Humanity Institute (FHI)
    • is a unique world-leading research centre that works on big picture questions for human civilisation and explores what can be done now to ensure a flourishing long-term future
    • Oxford, UK
  • The Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER)
    • an interdisciplinary research centre within the University of Cambridge dedicated to the study and mitigation of existential risks
    • Cambridge, UK
  • Association for Long Term Existence and Resilience (ALTER)
    • A think-and-do thank in Israel focused on both domestic and international policy and research related to building a safe and prosperous global future.  

Focused on general pandemic preparedness/mitigation or biological weapons

  • CBW network for a comprehensive reinforcement of norms against chemical and biological weapons (CBWNet)
    • The joint project aims to identify options to comprehensively strengthen the norms against chemical and biological weapons (CBW).
    • Collaboration between multiple German universities
    • funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research
  • Independent Pandemic Preparedness Secretariat (IPPS)
    • The IPPS is a wholly independent entity that will serve to ensure join up between relevant states, the private sector, and global health institutions in support of the 100 days mission. 
    • The goal of the 100 Days Mission is to prepare as much as possible so that within the first 100 days that a pandemic threat is identified, crucial interventions can be made available, safe, effective, and affordable
    • Based in London, UK

USA

  • Institute for Progress
    • a non-partisan research and advocacy organization founded in January 2022 by Alec Stapp and Caleb Watney. IFP is dedicated to accelerating scientific, technological, and industrial progress while safeguarding humanity’s future.
  • RAND Corporation
    • a research organization that develops solutions to public policy challenges to help make communities throughout the world safer and more secure, healthier and more prosperous.
  • Nuclear Threat Initiative
    • a nonprofit, nonpartisan global security organization focused on reducing nuclear and biological threats imperiling humanity.
  • Horizon Institute for Public Service
    • a non-partisan, non-profit organization that helps the US government navigate our era of rapid technological change by fostering the next generation of emerging technology policy talent.
  • Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security
    • explores how new policy approaches, scientific advances, and technological innovations can strengthen health security and save lives.
  • 1Day Sooner
    • a nonprofit that advocates for people who participate and want to participate in high-impact medical studies, particularly human challenge trials, where healthy volunteers are infected with a disease to test a vaccine, treatment, or to learn other important information.
  • The Council on Strategic Risks
    • a nonprofit, non-partisan security policy institute devoted to anticipating, analyzing and addressing core systemic risks to security in the 21st century.
    • Based in Washington, DC
  • Center for Security and Emerging Technolgy (CSET)
    • A policy research organization within Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service, CSET provides decision-makers with data-driven analysis on the security implications of emerging technologies. CSET is currently focusing on the effects of progress in artificial intelligence (AI), advanced computing and biotechnology.
    • Generally more focused on AI but also work on biorisk
  • Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense
    • The Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense is a privately funded entity established in 2014 to provide for a comprehensive assessment of the state of U.S. biodefense efforts, and to issue recommendations that will foster change.
    • They published The Apollo Program for Biodefense report, which was an important effort in recommending technological priorities to fight biological threats

(Inter)governmental actors

USA

  • White House
    • Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)
  • Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR)
    • Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA)
    • HHS Coordination Operations and Response Element (H-CORE)
    • Strategic National Stockpile (SNS)
  • Department of Defense (DoD)
  • Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
  • Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H)
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • (National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH))
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) — National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
    • Biodefense and Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases: NIAID research provides the foundation for developing medical products and strategies to diagnose, treat, and prevent a wide range of infectious diseases, whether those diseases emerge naturally or are deliberately introduced as an act of bioterrorism.

Europe

  • European Health Emergency Response Authority (HERA)
    • The department’s mission is to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to health emergencies.
    • HERA, created in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, supports innovation for stockpiling and manufacturing of countermeasures (budget €1bn/year).
  • Germany
    • Federal ministries: Health, Research, Defence, Robert Koch Institute
    • SPRIN-D: Federal innovation agency, 2 programs on antivirals (€25mn and €60mn)
    • ZEPAI: Implementing German Pandemic Preparedness Plan (€3bn for vaccine manufacturing capacity reservation)
  • National governments (Ministries of Health, Civil protection, stockpiling authorities)

International actors

  • Pandemic Action Network (PAN)
    • A network of organizations working to build better global pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response.
  • Biological Weapons Convention (BWC)
  • World Health Organization (WHO)
    • WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence
      • Based in Berlin
  • Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI
    • is an innovative global partnership working to accelerate the development of vaccines against epidemic and pandemic threats.
    • Their core business is distributing funding
    • Offices in Oslo, Norway (HQ), London, UK, and Washington, USA
    • founded in Davos by the governments of Norway and India, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome, and the World Economic Forum.
  • Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction (the Global Partnership)
    • G7-led, 31-member international initiative aimed at preventing the proliferation of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) weapons and related materials.
    • has delivered more than US$ 25 billion in tangible threat-reduction programming and continues to lead international efforts to mitigate all manner of CBRN threats around the world.
  • The Australia Group (AG)
    • an informal forum of countries which, through the harmonisation of export controls, seeks to ensure that exports do not contribute to the development of chemical or biological weapons.
    • Coordination of national export control measures assists Australia Group participants to fulfil their obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention to the fullest extent possible.
  • Riesgos Catastróficos Globales (RCG)
    • Only partly focused on biosecurity, and mostly in Latin America
  • Global Shield
    • Global advocacy organization focused on all-hazard global catastrophic risk, including convergent risk
  • International Biosecurity & Biosafety Initiative for Science (IBBIS)
    • Works with global partners to strengthen biosecurity norms and develop innovative tools to uphold them
    • Releasing Common Mechanism for DNA Synthesis Screening 

Technical R&D

While there are GCBR-focused or EA-aligned organizations working directly on technical biosecurity interventions, the majority of relevant work is being done in academia and, to a lesser extent, industry/startups. A strong tail-risk awareness is still very relevant in policy, but after having identified promising technical interventions, it is now more important to interface with existing domain expertise. We’d thus recommend newcomers interested in working on technical biosecurity to explore traditional careers focussed on relevant biosecurity-relevant R&D.

GCBR-focused non-profits

  • SecureBio
    • SecureBio's in-house team of researchers and technologists work with experts in academia, industry and government to develop new technologies and policy proposals to delay, detect, and defend against any catastrophic pandemic, whether natural or engineered.
    • Metagenomic surveillance (Nucleic Acid Observatory)
    • SecureDNA
    • Far-UVC 
    • Some smaller policy projects
  • Blueprint Biosecurity
    • Tech roadmapping and funding
    • Focusing on far-UVC, next-gen PPE, and transmission suppression in
      the built environment.
  • Convergent Research
    • Incubating focused research organizations (FROs)
    • Only partly focused on biosecurity 
  • Rethink Priorities
    • a research and implementation group that identifies pressing opportunities to make the world better
    • Only partly focused on biosecurity 
  • Kaido Labs
    • a research group that aims to combat the critical absence of biodefense research. Kaido has two primary objectives: directly contribute to biodefense research, and train the next generation of biosecurity leaders.
  • Charity Entrepreneurship
    • “Our mission is to enable more effective charities to exist in the world. We strive to achieve this goal through our extensive research process and Incubation Program”
    • Only partly focused on biosecurity 
  • Cavendish Labs
    • Research nonprofit working on AI safety and computational biosecurity projects

Relevant for-profits

  • Gryphon Scientific
    • a consulting practice that uses rigorous scientific analyses to address problems of global health and security.
  • Amodo Design
    • British engineering consultancy with built-environment improvements and PPE in their portfolio

Academic labs

  •  

Upskilling (fellowships)

Focused on newcomers

  • BlueDot Impact — Biosecurity Fundamentals
    • “We run courses to empower driven individuals with the knowledge, community, and opportunities to solve the world’s most pressing but neglected problems.”
    • Introduction for newcomers
  • Stanford Existential Risks Initiative (SERI)
    • a collaboration between Stanford faculty and students dedicated to mitigating existential risks, such as extreme climate change, nuclear winter, global pandemics (and other risks from synthetic biology), and risks from advanced artificial intelligence
  • Existential Risk Alliance (ERA) Cambridge Fellowship
    • “Through our summer research fellowship programme, we aim to identify and support aspiring researchers in this field, providing them with the resources and the mentorship needed to succeed.”
  • Swiss Existential Risk Initiative (CHERI)
    • supports bachelors, masters and PhD students looking to have a positive impact with their career in global catastrophic risk mitigation.

E-learning resources

  • Next Generation Biosecurity: Responding to 21st Century Biorisks
    • Learn about biosecurity, biosafety and bioethics, and why they're vital - inside and outside of the lab.
  • Nuclear Threat Initiative Education Center
    • The place for educational content related to nuclear, biological, radiological and cyber-nuclear threats for undergraduate and graduate courses in international relations, security studies, sciences, and more.
  • EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament eLearning Course
    • “This course aims to cover all aspects of the European Union's non-proliferation and disarmament agenda and provide a comprehensive knowledge resource. Both the course and the certification are offered free of charge.”
    • Learning Unit 3 is focused on biological weapons

Focused on people with some experience

  • Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity (ELBI) Fellowship
    • inspires and connects the next generation of biosecurity leaders and innovators.
    • Launched in 2012, ELBI is a highly competitive, part-time program that provides an opportunity for talented graduate students and professionals to deepen their expertise, expand their network, and build their leadership skills through a series of events coordinated by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
    • For people who are already experienced in biosecurity
  • Horizon Institute for Public Service (Horizon Fellowship)
    • “Through our flagship Horizon Fellowship, we place fully-funded fellows at host organizations to help tackle policy challenges related to artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and other emerging technologies.”
    • “Fellows selected for our program receive policy-focused training, mentorship, and support in matching with a host organization for a full-time, fully-funded fellowship based in the Washington, DC area. Potential host organizations include executive branch offices, congressional offices, and think tanks.​”
    • Probably the best program to get into US policy work around biosecurity
  • Council on Strategic Risks (CSR) Fellowship for Ending Bioweapons Programs
    • “In this one-year program, Fellows work with leading experts from CSR’s team and network to generate ideas for ending the threat of state biological weapons programs.“
    • “Together, the CSR team collaborates with the Fellows to explore wide-ranging ideas that governments, nonprofits, or other private organizations could pursue for addressing bioweapons threats. The Fellows  work to deepen our understanding of motivations for bioweapons programs, and foster creative ideas and options for the use of technologies, international cooperation, and engagement of non-traditional actors for the purpose of reducing biological weapons risks.”
  • United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) Youth for Biosecurity Initiative
    • “An interactive training and awareness-raising programme gathering competitively selected young biosecurity specialists from the Global South to reflect on how they envision an innovative and bio-secure future in connection with the BWC. In that regard, the project seeks to empower and motivate youth to promote sustainable change in their professional and academic communities, in line with the BWC’s objectives.”
  • RAND Corporation Technology and Security Policy Fellowship
    • “develops new generations of policy analysts and implementors at the intersection of technology and security issues. Fellows perform in-depth, independent research on an area of technology and security policy and receive mentorship from RAND policy experts.”
    • “Candidates are welcome from all experience levels, from undergraduate students to mid-career professionals. Fellowship durations will typically start at one year with the possibility of up to two additional years. Fellowships can be full- or part-time. Fellows must be based in the United States or United Kingdom, working remotely or at one of RAND's U.S. or U.K. offices (Santa Monica, CA; Washington, DC; Pittsburgh, PA; Boston, MA; Cambridge, UK).”
  • European Commission Blue Book Traineeships
    • 5-months, full-time, paid
    • “Trainees work all over the European Commission, its services and agencies, mostly in Brussels, but also in Luxembourg and elsewhere across the European Union.”
    • While this is a very broad opportunity to start working in EU policy, it is possible to choose to work on biosecurity-relevant projects

Funders of work on biorisk mitigation

Major funders explicitly focused on catastrophic biorisk

  • Open Philanthropy Biosecurity & Pandemic Preparedness program
    • 110+ grants made, $200+ million given
  • Survival and Flourishing Fund
    • “Survivalandflourishing.fund is a “virtual fund”: we organize application submission and evaluation processes to help donors decide where to make donations. Our goal is to bring financial support to organizations working to improve humanity’s long-term prospects for survival and flourishing.”
    • Previous grants seem to have been more focused on AI safety, but they seem interested in biorisk mitigation as well
  • Effective Giving
  • Longview Philanthropy
    • “We provide grantmaking services to donors who want to do the most good possible with their giving.”

Smaller funders with some part of their portfolio dedicated to catastrophic biorisk

  • Long-Term Future Fund
    • aims to positively influence the long-term trajectory of civilization by making grants that address global catastrophic risks, especially potential risks from advanced artificial intelligence and pandemics
  • Lightspeed Grants
    • looking for projects that have a chance of substantially changing humanity's future trajectory for the better
    • The first round closed on July 6th, 2023
  • Manifund regranting
    • Manifund is the charitable arm of Manifold Markets
  • (University of Chicago’s Market Shaping Accelerator Challenge)
    • A program that funds pull mechanisms to solve problems in climate tech and biosecurity
    • It might have been just a one-off thing
  • Emergent Ventures
    • A fellowship and grant program from the Mercatus Center, seeks to support entrepreneurs with highly scalable, “zero to one” ideas for meaningfully improving society.
    • Not explicitly focused on biosecurity but potentially relevant for individuals looking for small grants to jumpstart highly scalable biosecurity projects

Funders that are focused on pandemic preparedness more broadly

  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
    • more focused on Global Health
    • Some relevant work on medical countermeasures, e.g., vaccines, antivirals (also part of PAD), wastewater surveillance
  • FluLab
    • Main funder Larry Page
    • Their grants are quite substantial, up to dozens of millions of dollars
  • Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction (the Global Partnership) (also listed above)
    • has delivered more than US$ 25 billion in tangible threat-reduction programming and continues to lead international efforts to mitigate all manner of CBRN threats around the world.
    • They have a dedicated biosecurity branch
    • I am unsure how they provide grants and whether there are open application rounds
  • balvi.io
    • “Balvi is a scientific investment and direct gifting fund for deploying quickly to high-value COVID projects that traditional institutional or commercial funding sources tend to overlook for being too early or “outside the box”, or because there’s no financial incentive.”
    • Main funder Vitalik Buterin
    • focused on Covid-19 specifically
  • Schmidt Futures
    • philanthropic initiative of Eric and Wendy Schmidt.
    • “We are building a network of the sharpest minds on Earth — helping them to solve hard problems in science and society by connecting them across fields, bringing multiple types of capital to bear, and applying modern tools and technology thoughtfully.”
  • Novo Nordisk Foundation
    • “Our vision is to improve people’s health and the sustainability of society and the planet”
    • seem more focused on global health but have collaborated with Open Philanthropy on a Pandemic Antiviral Discovery (PAD) initiative
  • Global Health Investment Corporation (GHIC)
    • “a nonprofit organization, has been investing in global health innovation for over a decade. Through investments in life sciences and healthcare technology companies, we accelerate the development and accessibility of products with the potential to improve global public health and health equity, and generate sustainable financial returns.”
    • seem to be more focused on global health but recently expanded their mission to include global health security and pandemic preparedness.
  • Wellcome Trust
    • We fund curiosity-driven research, and we’re taking on three of the biggest health challenges facing humanity – climate change, infectious disease and mental health.
    • £37.8 billion investment portfolio
    • Previous grants have focused on vaccines, drug-resistant infections and Covid-19
  • Rockefeller Foundation
    • “We’re a philanthropic foundation that promotes the well-being of humanity by finding and scaling solutions to advance opportunity and reverse the climate crisis.”
    • Some biosecurity relevant work with the “Global Vaccination Initiative” and “Pandemic Prevention Initiative”
  • The World Bank Pandemic Fund
    • “A multi-stakeholder global partnership, with its Secretariat hosted by the World Bank. It is governed by a Board comprising representatives from sovereign contributors, non-sovereign contributors, sovereign co-investors and civil society organizations.”
    • “Provides a dedicated stream of additional, long-term financing to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response (PPR) capacity and capabilities in low- and middle-income countries and to address critical gaps through investments and technical support at the national, regional, and global levels.”
    • As of February 2023, financial pledges to the Pandemic Fund total more than US$ 1.6 billion from 25 donors.

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Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 2:35 PM

Thanks for putting this together, Max! 

Thanks for this. I'd be keen to see a longer list of the interesting for-profits in this space.

Biobot Analytics (wastewater monitoring) are the only for-profit on the 80,000 Hours job board list.

This is a pretty good overview: https://www.decodingbio.com/p/decoding-biosecurity-and-biodefense

I know the space reasonably well, happy to connect and discuss with anyone interested!

Some UK additions.

Government

  • UK Health Security Agency (for England mostly but some UK-wide), Public Health Wales, Public Health Scotland, Public Health Agency (Northern Ireland) are the public health agencies, at least for infectious diseases, for England (~CDC).
  • Department for Health and Social Care for public health and other policy.
  • Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology for emerging biotech.
  • Cabinet Office for cross-departmental work, including the National Rush Risk Register which had pandemics as the biggest civil threat even pre-COVID.
  • Various other government departments are involved in different ways, the recent National Biosecurity Strategy is the best place to look for everything that is going on.
  • MHRA regulates pharmaceuticals and other healthcare products (~FDA but only medical).
  • UK Biosecurity Leadership Council launched this week. A way of bringing external experts into the policy making process.

Academic

There's lots of labs across various institutions depending on what (sub)-field your after. Pretty much everyone relevant in the sciences (including behavioural sciences and some engineering) were included in the SAGE Advisory Groups. UKRI is the parent body for governmental funding is academia and the various sub-bodies ("research councils") do funding of all kinds of pandemic-relevant work (including social sciences, mathematics, engineering, biology).

Other

The Institute for Government is an independent think tank focused on masking government work better. They've done some work (including in collaboration with CLTR) looking at how the COVID response went and emergency preparedness more broadly.

What a fantastic resource, thanks all! Also may be worth adding, the new National Security Commission on Emerging Biotechnology, which will be delivering a 2024 report based on “a thorough review of how advances in emerging biotechnology and related technologies will shape current and future activities of the Department of Defense“ - delivering it to the DoD, White House, and Congress.

This is a very welcome contribution to a professional field (ie., the GCBR-focused parts of the pandemic preparedness and biosecurity space) that can often feel opaque and poorly coordinated — sincere thanks to Max and everyone else who helped make it!

Great resource! Some Dutch suggestions: 

The Biosecurity Office: "The Biosecurity Office is a national information centre for the government and for organisations that work with high-risk biological material.

The Biosecurity Office shares knowledge and information about biosecurity and increases awareness about biosecurity, in order to minimise the risk of misuse of high risk pathogens, knowledge and technologies. The Biosecurity Office increases biosecurity awareness in the Netherlands by organizing a Biosecurity Knowledge Day in the Netherlands annually, by giving lectures and workshops, by developing knowledge products and web applications, and by joining international biosecurity initiatives."

The Pandemic and Disaster Preparedness Centre: "Erasmus MC, TU Delft and Erasmus University Rotterdam have joined forces in the Pandemic and Disaster Preparedness Center (PDPC).

PDPC aims to prepare society for future pandemics and disasters. We will reduce vulnerabilities and risks and build resilience through effective disaster prevention, preparedness and recovery measures. Convergence of the technical, medical and social sciences is essential for developing the next generation of approaches to disasters and pandemics.’"

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