is of three kinds: short-term, longer term, and field investigations.
Short-term research is done chiefly in support of presentations
at the regular seminars and workshops organized by HSP or conferences
at which HSP personnel are invited to speak. It is also done in
support of interventions in the media, such as newspaper op-eds.
More privately, research of this type is done in support of less
public outreach activities as well, including work for governmental
advisory committees and for ad hoc working parties convened by the
World Health Organization, for example, and the European Commission.
Selected HSP-authored publications and unpublished papers from short-term
research are listed here.
The longer term research is aimed principally at identifying possible
policy initiatives and realistic ways of taking them forward. It
currently comprises the following projects:
An investigation of possible contributions of international criminal
law to strengthening the existing regime
against CBW. From this work, which is currently funded by the Carnegie
Corporation of New York, has resulted the HSP
proposal for criminalizing acts of biological or other such
armament by means of a new international treaty. This research is
being taken forward mainly by Catherine Jefferson, Caitríona McLeish,
Matthew Meselson and Julian Robinson.
trends and policy choices. A research activity, initiated by
the Carnegie Corporation of New York, that monitors the relevant
technical background and the principal current national and international
responses to the challenge of CBW. This project is lead by Matthew
The following projects have now been completed:
CBW. An analysis of challenges to the regime against weaponization
of disease presented by disabling CBW weapons. For more details
click here. Contributing HSP researchers
were Daniel Feakes, Caitríona McLeish, Matthew Meselson and
The EU and
CBW. A study of the role and functioning of the European Union with regard
to chemical and biological weapons. This project, which was led by
Daniel Feakes, includes maintenance of a
EU and WMD that indexes and links EU documentation on the non-proliferation
of weapons of mass destruction.
perception and policy formation. An investigation of why and
how threats of bioterrorism are being perceived in the ways that
are now apparent, and of the influences of such threat perceptions
on assessment of vulnerability and the consequent development of
public policy for threat mitigation. The main purpose of the project
was to ask which of these policies may actually be beneficial, which
may be counter-productive, and how the requisite risk assessments
should best be conducted. The project was furnishing the principal
University of Sussex input into the
ASSRBCVUL coordination action and was taken forward by Kai Ilchmann,
Caítriona McLeish, Tony Phillips and Julian Robinson.
A project detailing authoritatively how the OPCW was built by its
Preparatory Commission during 1993-97. It was funded by grants from
the foreign ministries of Japan, the Netherlands and the UK. For
details click here. Daniel
Feakes, Ian Kenyon and Julian Robinson were the HSP researchers
in genomics. Initially funded from the Science in Society programme
of the UK Economic & Social Research Council, this was an investigation
of possible impacts on biotechnology of dual-use controls introduced
in order to enhance biosecurity in the UK. For details click here.
Caitríona McLeish was the lead HSP researcher in this work,
which also benefited from input from Tony Phillips.
A collaboration in which the University of Sussex joined with five
overseas research institutions to assess the vulnerability of European
society to radiological, biological and chemical terrorist attacks
and to propose and evaluate countermeasures. For details click here.
The project was what the European Commission (the sponsoring organization)
called a 'coordination action', and the contributions to it from
the University of Sussex were provided by HSP Sussex.
and CBW. Funded from the Non-Govermental Public Action programme
of the UK Economic & Social Research Council, this project examined
the role and influence of civil society on attempts to eliminate
biological and chemical weapons, with particular focus on national
efforts within the UK and on recent activities to establish a global
civil society monitoring network. Daniel Feakes was the HSP researcher
leading this work.
actors and the globalization of chemical and biological WMD technologies.
Funded from the New Security Challenges programme of the UK Economic
& Social Research Council, this investigation used recently-validated
research methods to conceptualise how heterogeneous non-state actors
enrol one another to create, overturn and enforce regulatory regimes
that frame and constrain the development of CBW-relevant technologies.
For details click here.
The project was carried out by Daniel Feakes, Caitríona McLeish,
and Julian Robinson.
This HSP research activity is exemplified by the on-site investigation
of the anthrax outbreak of 1979 in Sverdlovsk, USSR, organized and
led in 1992 and 1993 by the Harvard HSP director, Matthew Meselson.
Its definitive findings have been published in the Proceedings of
the US National Academy of Sciences, in the journal Science, and
in the book Anthrax: the investigation of a deadly outbreak (University
of California Press, 1999) by HSP Associate Jeanne Guillemin. This
inquiry followed an earlier HSP investigation of the 'yellow rain'
phenomenon in southeast Asia, which demonstrated that the yellow
materials at first thought to be samples of a CBW agent were in
actuality the harmless droppings of large swarms of wild honey-bees.
These findings were published in Nature, Science and Foreign Policy.
What both these HSP inquiries revealed was the importance of independent
and properly conducted scientific investigation as backstop to the
efforts of governments to understand complex events possibly associated
with biological or chemical weapons. Since then, HSP has involved
itself in preliminary inquiries regarding several other alleged
CBW events (in, for example, Iran, Iraqi Kurdistan, Burma, southern
Africa, Sudan and Palestine) but they have not yet proceeded to
On the basis
of this experience, HSP is well suited to pursuing, should occasion
arise, 'open source plus' research in which, on very specific matters
such as allegations of use or other forms of non-compliance with
international CBW agreements, HSP engages in field work aimed at
building upon existing published sources of information through
interviews, for example, or through sample collection and analysis.