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Science and Security Programme Launched

Date: 04/03/2013

Research that has the potential to provide new insights on the development, perception, use and dissemination of science and technology within different cultures and societies, and the implications for UK defence, security and risk management has been announced. The RCUK Global Uncertainties Programme has launched a new £2.1million Science and Security Programme, consisting of 10 new awards. The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) in conjunction with the Defence Science Technology Laboratory Futures and Innovation Domain and the Economic and Social Research Council are funding new research to develop greater understanding of how developments in science and technology will present opportunities and threats to future UK defence and security.

The research will focus on how the risks to defence and security that emerge from future developments in science and technology can better be assessed and addressed and the influence of cultural, historical, ethical, economic and societal factors on how science and technology is developed and utilised in future to present opportunities and threats for defence and security.

These projects will contribute to the AHRC's theme Science in Culture which aims to develop the reciprocal relationship between the sciences on the one hand, and arts and humanities on the other. The sciences and the arts and humanities often seek to answer very different kinds of questions about human nature, the nature of the world we inhabit, and the relationship between the two. Sometimes, however, the questions we seek to answer do not neatly fall within the remit of one or the other.

Professor Barry Smith, AHRC's Leadership Fellow for Science in Culture commented: The involvement of the arts and humanities in this programme provides a wider horizon in which to consider people's uses and responses to the latest developments in science and technology, and the opportunities and threats they present to UK security.

The successful awards that will contribute the AHRC's Science in Culture theme are:

  • Professor Brian Rappert, University of Exeter - The Formulation and Non-formulation of Security Concerns: Preventing the Destructive Application of the Life Sciences
  • Professor Guglielmo Verdirame, King's College London - SNT Really Makes Reality: Technological Innovation, Non-Obvious Warfare and the Challenges to International Law

As part of the RCUK Global Uncertainties Programme, this call brings together the activities of the seven UK Research Councils in response to global security challenges. The programme examines the causes of insecurity and how security risks and threats can be predicted, prevented and managed.

AHRC's Associate Director of Programmes Gary Grubb said This Programme has provided a welcome opportunity for arts and humanities researchers to undertake cross-disciplinary research critically reflecting on the legal and ethical dimensions and assumptions surrounding scientific and technological innovation and will make a valuable contribution to AHRC's Science in Culture theme as well as to the cross-Council Global Uncertainties Programme

The full list of awards can be found at the RCUK Global Uncertainties website: http://www.globaluncertainties.org.uk/.

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