This project aims to provide the Biological Threat Characterization Program (BTCP) with a consensus expert framework intended to: inform the decisions of program leaders as they consider funding experimental work to characterize biological threats; provide principles, criteria, and decision-making processes for evaluating such possible projects; and recommend how the BTCP might determine appropriate endpoints for threat characterization studies. BTCP needs not only to determine whether and under what conditions a study should be performed, it also requires a process for determining appropriate stopping points for when a threat is sufficiently characterized for the purposes of policymaker decision making.
Researchers will conduct literature reviews and expert interviews (for data gathering) as well as a working group consensus process to produce the proposed consensus framework. By combining academic inquiry with the wisdom of accomplished practitioners and policymakers, this project will produce an expert consensus framework to help BTCP leaders answer questions about biological agent characterization. The consensus framework will help in BTCP decision-making, conserve and prioritize resources, and will help guard against the unnecessary creation of new dual-use threats.