Despite its value and benefits, certain types of research conducted for legitimate purposes can be utilized for both benevolent and harmful purposes. Such research is known as Dual Use Research (DUR). The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines dual use research of concern (DURC) as life sciences research that 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."
At Georgia Tech, the Institutional Review Entity (IRE) is charged with overseeing research that falls under this definition as established by the US Government Policy for Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern.
On March 29, 2012, the US Government released the US Government Policy for Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern to establish the requirements for the oversight of DURC. On September 24, 2014, the US Government Policy for Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern was released to establish the requirements for institutional (i.e., non-US Government) oversight of DURC. The government considers these two policies to be complementary.
For more background information on DURC and the government's oversight authority, visit the HHS' Science Safety Security website.