Techno-scientific progress may bring us not only benefits and well-being, but also undesired side-effects and new dilemmas. Apart from social, ethical, or environmental controversies, research and innovation are increasingly linked with security controversies, characterized by the concerns over a potential misuse of science for hostile purposes. Yet where do we draw the boundary between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ science? How do we wish to govern it? And what are the implications thereof?

The SECCON project explores this new type of security controversies in research and innovation. It does so via two principal steps. First, by developing an interdisciplinary expertise based on security studies, science and technology studies, critical policy studies, and responsible research and innovation. Secondly, by mapping and analyzing the governance of security controversies in the spheres of biobanking and EU grant review.

The theoretical framework is based on the knowledge transfer between Dagmar Rychnovská, an experienced researcher in security studies, and the research group Techno-science and societal transformation, which investigates the mutual interdependency of science/technology and society as well as the societal preconditions, possibilities and limitations to govern related issues. The project is supervised by Erich Griessler in cooperation with Robert Braun and Anna Durnová.

The empirical research is focused on two areas – the ethics assessment in the EU grant project review and the governance of biomedical science. The first case looks at how security controversies are understood and dealt with in the grant review process and specifically under the ethics review of Horizon 2020 projects in the EU. The second case exemplifies a leading European research infrastructure for biomolecular resources and biobanks, namely BBMRI-ERIC.