The Implementation Support Unit (ISU) of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) are delighted to open the call for applications to the 2020 – 2021 Biosecurity Diplomacy Workshop for Young Scientists from the Global South. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this 2nd Edition will mainly be held virtually between end November 2020 and mid-2021. The workshop will be financed under the auspices of European Union Council Decision 2019/97/CFSP in support of the BWC, managed and implemented by UNODA.
A world free of biological weapons cannot be attained without youth and women voices being included in multilateral BWC dialogue. As fast-paced innovation in biotechnologies raises global implications for biosecurity, the young scientists of today will be on the forefront of tomorrow’s collective and innovative global solutions. This vision was stated explicitly in the UN Secretary-General’s Disarmament Agenda “Securing Our Common Future”, in which youth and women’s participation feature as pre-conditions to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) related to disarmament and non-proliferation.
The workshop will bring together a second cohort of up to 20 early career and talented scientists from diverse countries in the Global South engaged on topics related to the BWC. Participants will be selected based on their professional backgrounds and accomplishments. Young female scientists from the Global South are particularly encouraged to apply.
The workshop will provide a platform for young scientists from the Global South to share their knowledge and ideas about biosecurity issues at the local level and ways to strengthen it. It will encourage the emergence of a community of peers nurturing each other and help the development of networks for capacity development in biosafety and biosecurity.
The workshop will also expose participants to the multilateral biosecurity scene, at the crossroads between science and diplomacy, and increase their knowledge of current challenges in the light of scientific and technological advances. They will engage with experts on topics such as science diplomacy, science advice in the context of the BWC, dual-use research of concern, responsible and ethical science and innovation, global health security and other science and technology topics of relevance to the BWC. Opportunities for networking will also be provided.
Component 1: Virtual Workshop (End November – December 2020) – The participants will meet each other, hear presentations from experts and be offered opportunities to share and exchange their experience and expectations.
Component 2: Meeting of Experts (3-4 December) – The participants will attend online the BWC Meeting of Experts on science and technology (MX2) and gain valuable insight into the impact of science and technology developments on the BWC. Virtual face-to-face sessions will allow participants to reflect, brainstorm and share ideas at the end of MX2 through individual and group activities.
Component 3: Virtual or in-person workshop and role-play (TBD 2021) - The participants will meet with experts and take part in a role-play challenging their capacity to shape solutions collectively while using their knowledge on the BWC and related issues.
The three components of the workshops will be supported by intersessional work and group activities. Further details of the events will be communicated to selected participants.
The workshop is open to those who:
- have an advanced degree in the life sciences or a related discipline from a recognized university or institution;
- are citizens of a low- or middle-income BWC State Party (for a full list of BWC States Parties, click here);
- have been working in the life sciences (academia, research, or industry) for at least five years;
- are active scientists under the age of 40; and
- have a strong command of written and spoken English, as the workshop will be fully conducted in English.
Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply. The selection process will be guided by the need to ensure the highest quality of participants while maintaining a gender and regional balance.
HOW TO APPLY
The deadline to receive applications is 8 November 2020. Applications will be carefully screened by an expert panel on the basis of the criteria specified above. Applicants should submit the required documentation electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org. The required documentation includes the following:
- (a) curriculum vitae (maximum five pages);
- (b) one-page description of your motivation to participate in the workshop (in font Times New Roman, size 12, single space paragraphs);
- (c) letter of recommendation from a senior member of your institution that addresses your qualifications and attests to the relevance of the workshop to the work of the institution; and
- (d) digital image of the personal identification page of your passport. Incomplete or improperly filled-out application forms will not be considered.
Applications without full supporting documentation will not be accepted.