In Focus

Call for Innovative Ideas to Address Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Terrorism
Deadline for applications: 30 April 2020

New scientific developments and emerging technologies are transforming life, industry and the global economy in positive ways. At the same time, some of these technologies, such as drones, artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, and additive manufacturing (also known as 3D printing), present significant potential for misuse by terrorist groups.

UNICRI, in cooperation with the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Global Coordination Compact – Working Group on Emerging Threats and Critical Infrastructure Protection, is implementing the project “Technology and Security: Enhancing Knowledge about Advances in Science and Technology to Combat WMD Terrorism”, funded by the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT).

The call aims at identifying innovative ideas and new solutions that can concretely contribute to mitigate emerging and future risks associated with WMD terrorism, in particular, risks that terrorist groups can misuse advances in science and technology in scenarios such as:

  • Misuse of unmanned aerial vehicles to release toxic material
  • AI-powered cyberattacks against nuclear facilities
  • Misuse of synthetic biology, including gene-editing technologies
  • Misuse of additive manufacturing to organize illicit trafficking of nuclear components

The call is for security experts and representatives from industry, academia, civil society and international organizations. The results will be used to prepare a Report on Emerging and Future Risks that will scan the horizon of technology solutions to anticipate and mitigate risks posed by WMD terrorism. The call is organized by UNICRI within the framework of its SIRIO initiative in Geneva.

The call intends to address the concerns that have been raised in multiple UN resolutions (Security Council resolutions 1624, 2129, 2178), reports and statements of the UN Secretary-General, each acknowledging that while enabling tremendous benefits for humanity, technologies ranging from artificial intelligence and robotics to the Internet and biotechnology, also introduce new and emerging threats and security challenges.

The call is open until 30 April 2020. If you are willing to apply, please contact us: Mr. Francesco Marelli, Email:

or Mr. Marco Musumeci, Email:

We will send you all relevant information to contribute to the initiative.

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