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Understanding Interstate Competitiveness and International Security in European Dual-Use Research

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paper

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBiomimetic and Biohybrid Systems
Subtitle of host publication7th International Conference, Living Machines 2018, Paris, France, July 17–20, 2018, Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - 2018

King's Authors


Dual-use (DU) technologies are both a threat to human security and an opportunity to generate economic value. This article reflects on tensions between state preferences for greater competitiveness in DU technologies and its implications for human security. These tensions are analysed through the lens of the Ethics Issues Checklists (EIC) used by the European Commission (EC) to implement upstream controls on European DU research. We show that the shift towards an economistic framing of DU in the EICs privileges competitiveness at the expense of security imperatives and thereby undermines Europe’s commitments to human security as agreed in multilateral treaties. Furthermore, findings show a nuanced understanding of the EC’s preference for economic considerations as it combines economic growth expectations from a more competitive DU industry with a strengthening of Europe’s hard power capacities via a strengthened domestic security industry.

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