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Topics and policy

Security and risk

Global challenges like climate change, food security and poverty radically affect our lives as they influence the outcomes of things beyond any one individual’s control. Careful consideration is needed about how to manage access to increasingly scarce resources and who should be making key decisions about these challenges, to avoid insecurity and conflict.

Science can make a major contribution to addressing global challenges. The Royal Society works closely with government and international bodies on addressing nuclear, chemical, biological, cyber and environmental risks, and identifying emerging threats.

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Our analysis and advice

  • Nuclear arms control and disarmament

    A policy brief prepared with the American Association for the Advancement of Science in advance of the Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) taking place in May 2010.

    Read the statement

  • 2016 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) 8th review conference

    Assessing the implications of advances in science and technology for the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC).

    Find out more

  • Cybersecurity research

    This project aims to inform policymaking about cybersecurity research in the UK.

    Explore the project

  • Sackler Forum: Trends in synthetic biology and gain of function and regulatory implications

    A summary of a meeting on synthetic biology and gain of function, held in partnership with the US National Academy of Sciences.

    Read the meeting report

  • The Chemical Weapons Convention

    On 18 February 2013, the Royal Society held a seminar at the headquarters of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

    Find out more

  • Biological weapons convention statement

    Summary of the Royal Society’s 2005 work on reducing the threat of biological weapons. 

    Download the statement

Also of interest

In Verba blog

Fellows working in this area

  • Sir John McCanny CBE FREng FRS

    Elected 2002

  • Sir John McCanny CBE FREng FRS

    • Fellow
    • Elected: 2002
    • Regius Professor of Electronics and Computer Engineering and Director, Institute Of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT), Queen's University Belfast

Professor John McCanny

John McCanny is an international authority on special purpose silicon architectures for digital signal and video processing, and cryptography.

His awards include a Royal Academy of Engineering Silver Medal and the Royal Irish Academy’s Cunningham Medal. Professor McCanny chairs the Royal Society’s project ‘Cybersecurity research: a vision for the UK’.

Professor Rod Flower

Professor Rod Flower is a pharmacologist who made major advances in understanding how anti-inflammatory medicines exert their therapeutic effects.

He is interested in 'science and security issues' and chaired the Royal Society’s Scientific Aspects of International Security Committee and the 'Brain Waves' panel that produced the ‘Neuroscience, conflict and security’ report.