Funding: MRes on bio-threats and veterinarian research

Deadline for applications is Sunday 17th July 2016.  

Royal Veterinary College, University of London.

A fully-funded (stipend and fees with allocated research costs) MRes position is available to investigate the professional role of a veterinarian in education and detection of Dual-Use Research Concerns.

The Dual-Use Research Concern (DURC) arises when scientific research that is intended to be utilized for a beneficial purpose either is, or has the potential to be, repurposed for malevolent uses, such as the development of bio-weapons.  Many approaches have been implemented, or proposed, to limit potential harm from the DURC or from other bio-threats by imposing national policies, editorial journal review policies and ethical training for bio-scientists. The UK, under the A(SP)A, prohibits testing offensive biological weapons, but such legislation is not internationally adopted, consequently it may become the role of regional ethics committees to detect the potential threats associated with DURC.  Concern is raised over the capacity of these committees to accurately detect DURC or other bio-security concerns.  Consequently a concern relating to DURC, or other bio-threat developments, is that such research may not be detected by ethics committees but instead may be inadvertently be detected in wild or farmed animals through secondary/accidental exposure.

Detection of unexpected or unusual disease in these animals this may serve as an early indicator of bio-weapon development, biological threats or unanticipated DURC.  The detection of these indicators may rely on appropriate education and awareness of veterinary professionals of the DURC and bio-threats and thus knowledge of the DURC may be in an important component of veterinary education.  Importantly, notions of professionalism, responsibility and accountability have been identified as key criteria for physicians which may equally apply to veterinarians when faced with bioweapon detection or potential DURC.  As yet the role of the veterinarian in bio-threat reduction remains undetermined.

This project aims to determine the role of the veterinary professional in detection and education of the DURC in both the UK and in Jordan as key case examples.

The specific objectives of this project are:

  • To describe the literature regarding the role of the veterinarian in DURC and bio-threat discovery.
  • To thematically analyse the regulatory frameworks for veterinarians internationally, to determine objectives that promote professional obligations in the DURC detection.
  • To develop an educational framework to promote the knowledge-base of veterinarians in the UK and Jordan, inline with the FVE, of the DURC and of bio-threat detection.

As part of the RVC JUST Twinning programme, the student will be expected to interact with professionals in Jordan to facilitate this study.

Eligibility – you need to meet our MRes eligibility requirementsHOWEVER, FOR THIS PROJECT YOU DO NOT NEED A VETERINARY, SCIENCE OR MEDICAL DEGREE.  A SOCIAL SCIENCE, LAW OR PHILOSOPHY DEGREE WILL ALSO BE ELIGIBLE.  A knowledge of professional codes of conduct, professional education, biological research environments or ability to communicate with diverse stakeholders is desired.

The studentships are full-time for 12 months commencing on 3rd October 2016

Travel – As part of the programme students may be expected to travel to Jordan.

Who Can Apply – these studentships  are open to Home/EU students only

How to Apply – information on how to apply can be found here

Supervisors: Dr Martin Whiting and Dr Siobhan Abeyesinghe

Contacts: 

About the project –  mwhiting@rvc.ac.uk 

About the application process – researchdegrees@rvc.ac.uk

 

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