Dual Use Research of Concern

According to U.S. Government Policy, "dual use research of concern" (DURC) is

life sciences research that, based on current understanding, can be reasonably anticipated to provide knowledge, information, products, or technologies that could be directly misapplied to pose a significant threat with broad potential consequences to public health and safety, agricultural crops and other plants, animals, the environment, materiel, or national security.​

DURC is overseen by Penn State's Internal Review Entity (IRE).  The general purpose of the IRE is to preserve the benefits of DURC while minimizing the risks of misuse of the knowledge, information, products, or technologies provided by such research.   Before receipt of one or more of the following 15 select agents and toxins, Penn State researchers must have IRE approval.  See Policy RP10 - Dual Use Research of Concern for more details.

Avian influenza virus (highly pathogenic)  
Bacillus anthracis
Botulinum neurotoxin of any quantity
Burkholderia mallei
Burkholderia pseudomallei
Ebola virus
Foot-and-mouth disease virus
Francisella tularensis
Marburg virus
Reconstructed 1918 Influenza virus '
Rinderpest virus
Toxin-producing strains of Clostridium botulinum
Variola major virus Variola minor virus
Yersinia pestis

Required Approvals

To begin the IRE approval process, you must complete the DURC Application and send it to ORP-Biosafety@psu.edu.

Research involving the select agents or toxins will likely also require additional separate compliance review and approval, such as by the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC), the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), and/or Penn State Export Compliance.

The Office for Research Protections (ORP) is responsible for coordinating DURC reviews and approvals for all University campuses and colleges except for the College of Medicine. The Office of the Vice Dean for Research is responsible for coordinating DURC reviews and approvals at the College of Medicine.

ORP staff can help you understand what compliance reviews and approvals are needed for your research. For more information on DURC and IRE review, contact us at ORP-Biosafety@psu.edu.

Required Training

Before research can begin, researchers must ensure that they, and all the  personnel involved in the research, have received education and training regarding DURC. At this time, DURC training can be accomplished by reviewing and understanding the following slides prepared by the Program on Biosecurity and Biosafety Policy at NIH: http://absaconference.org/absaconfwp/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/III-1-Harris-1100.pdf.

The ORP will collect and maintain email certification from the PI that the PI and all involved research personnel have completed this DURC training.