It was exciting until the last minute whether it could go ahead, but we are happy that we can look back on a successful Knowledge Day. After a year of online webinars, it was nice to meet again, catch up, share knowledge and exchange experiences.
After skipping a year, the Biosecurity Knowledge Day took place on Thursday 11 November for the 7th time. The day started with a networking / catch-up lunch. Heddy de Wijs, head of the Centre for Environmental Safety and Security that includes Biosecurity Office, opened the meeting by briefly reflecting on the corona pandemic and the need for strenghtening biosafety and biosecurity. Rik Bleijs then presented the developments of the past two years, such as the biosecurity webinars, the development of the dual-use tool, adjustments to the website and biosecurity in education.
As guest speaker, we had found Marion Koopmans, head of Viroscience at Erasmus MC, willing to discuss the research into the origin of SARS-CoV-2. Since December 2020, she has been part of an international research team of the World Health Organization (WHO) that conducted research in China at the beginning of January. A great opportunity for the participants to hear first-hand about the findings and ask questions.
After the plenary part, there were two rounds in which people could work on the following topics: dual-use, espionage and Cards for Biosafety. During the dual-use workshop, participants completed the Dual-use Quickscan on the basis of a case, after which they discussed follow-up actions and possible measures. In the espionage workshop, vulnerabilities were revealed by means of examples when it comes to espionage at organizations. Cards for Biosafety showed that the card game does what it promises: start a conversation about biosafety and biosecurity in an interactive way!
The evaluation form was completed by 20 of the 62 participants and gives a good idea of how they experienced the meeting. In particular, the benefits of a physical meeting, including networking and interaction with colleagues, were highly valued. The composition of the programme, the contribution of Marion Koopmans and the sub-sessions were also assessed very positively. All respondents indicated that the day met expectations: 'Better than other years even', 'A lot of new information and it was well put together!', 'It was good to see and speak to everyone again.', 'The topic is very broad and thanks to this day I got a good impression.'.
Save the date – November 10, 2022
The date for the eighth Biosecurity Knowledge Day has already been set, but the program is still completely open! We keep room for new developments and would like to hear what participants need. So if you have suggestions for filling in next year's program, or if you have something interesting to contribute: let us know! firstname.lastname@example.org