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The Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC) program

DURC is defined by the U.S. Government as:

“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, material, or national security.”



The “United States Government Policy for Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern,” issued in 2012, requires federal funding agencies to review research, identify projects and proposals that qualify as DURC, and verify that appropriate risk-reducing measures are in place.


The “United States Government Policy for Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences DURC,” issued in 2014, explains the institutional-level policies, practices, and procedures for the identification and risk mitigation of DURC.

Under DURC policies, research that involves one of the following 15 agents or toxins and produces/is anticipated to produce one of the following 7 experimental effects requires DURC review.



Avian influenza virus (highly pathogenic)


Bacillus anthracis


Botulinum neurotoxin


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
15 Yersinia pestis
  Experimental Effects

Enhances harmful consequences of the agent or toxin


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


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


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


Alters the host range or tropism (ability to productively infect) of the agent or toxin


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


Generates or reconstitutes an eradicated or extinct listed agent or toxin




In addition to these agents/toxins and experiment categories, institutions have the ability to use their discretion to determine if other types of life sciences constitute DURC.

DURC at the University of Arizona

If a PI is conducting research that involves one or more of the 15 select agents or toxins or may produce one or more of the 7 experimental effects, then they must complete the DURC Review Application Form (below) and email it to The following process will ensue.

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Compliance with federal DURC policies is imperative. Lack of compliance may result in the loss or suspension of federal funding for the research in question and loss of future funding opportunities for life sciences research at the University of Arizona.


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