Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC) is research, life science or other, in which the knowledge, information, technology, or products could be directly misused to pose a significant threat with far-reaching consequences to public health and safety, agricultural crops and other plants, animals, the environment and/ or national security.

At Rutgers University, we have included this topic in our trainings for biological safety since 2010, and have included it in our IBC protocol review in detail since 2011. Prior to 2012, and the publications of the controversial gain of function avian influenza papers, there were no federal policies or regulations pertaining to this type of research.

On March 29, 2012, the United States Government (USG) published the USG Policy for the Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern. This policy covers only research with specific agents in seven (7) categories. In September 2014, the USG published the Policy for the Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern. These policies apply to all investigators in institutions receiving funds from the federal government. If the PI is not funded by the government, the DURC must be reviewed and reported to the NIH Office of Science Policy. Rutgers has until September 2015 to implement the new policy. The Institutional Biosafety Committee will have primary oversight of DURC reviews in coordination with the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. All research with any of the agents below must be reviewed and approved by the IBC prior to project initiation.

Applicable Agents and Toxins

Applicable Research Categories

Avian influenza virus (highly pathogenic)

Enhances the harmful consequences of the agent or toxin

Bacillus anthracis

Disrupts immunity or the effectiveness of an immunization against the agent or toxin without clinical and/or agricultural justification

Botulinum neurotoxin

(For the purposes of this Policy, there are no exempt quantities of botulinum neurotoxin. Research involving any quantity of botulinum neurotoxin should be evaluated for DURC potential.)

Confers to the agent or toxin resistance to clinically and/or agriculturally useful prophylactic or therapeutic interventions against that agent or toxin or facilitates their ability to evade detection methodologies

Burkholderia mallei

Increases the stability, transmissibility, or the ability to disseminate the agent or toxin

Burkholderia pseudomallei

Alters the host range or tropism of the agent or toxin

Ebola virus

Enhances the susceptibility of a host population to the agent or toxin

Foot-and-mouth disease virus

Generates or reconstitutes an eradicated or extinct agent or toxin listed above

Francisella tularensis  
Marburg virus  
Reconstructed 1918 Influenza virus  
Rinderpest virus  
Toxin-producing strains of Clostridium botulinum  
Variola major virus  
Variola minor virus  
Yersinia pestis  

For additional resources please visit the US Department of Health and Human Services Dual Use Research of Concern website or call the University Biosafety Officer at 973-972-8424.