HSP research falls into three broad categories: short-term research,
longer-term research, and field investigations:
Short-term research is work done chiefly in support of op-eds in
the media or presentations at seminars and workshops organized by
HSP or conferences at which HSP personnel are invited to speak.
More privately, research of this type is also done in consequence
of HSP's outreach activities, notably for governmental advisory
committees and for ad hoc working parties convened by the World
Health Organization and the European Commission.
Longer term research.
Aimed at identifying possible policy initiatives and realistic ways
of taking them forward, the projects that currently constitute this
category are as follows: [7a]
CBW criminalization. An investigation of possible contributions
of international criminal law to strengthening the existing BWC/CWC
regime. From this work has resulted the HSP draft international
CBW criminalization convention (see the section on this website
on The HSP criminalization initiative).
The EU and CBW. A study of the role and functioning of
the European Union with regard to chemical and biological weapons.
'Non lethal' CBW. An analysis of challenges to the regime
against weaponization of disease presented by disabling CBW weapons.
This work will soon result in the publication of an edited
volume of contributions by specialists.
OPCW/PC history. A project detailing authoritatively how
the OPCW was built by its Preparatory Commission during 1993-97.
For further details click here.
Dual use controls and genomic research. An investigation
of possible impacts on biotechnology of dual-use controls introduced
in order to enhance biosecurity in the UK. For further details click
ASSRBCVUL. A collaboration with other European research
institutes to work on assessment of vulnerabilities in EU societies
to possible acts of biological, chemical or radiological terrorism.
For further details click here.
A third kind of HSP research 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.
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.