April 19, 2023

Horizon and Brown University co-host workshop to promote biosecurity policy careers

Earlier this month, Horizon partnered with the Brown University’s Pandemic Center, to co-host the Game Changers Workshop for Biosecurity Policy, a three-day event in Washington, DC to help early- and mid-career professionals explore a career transition into the field of biosecurity policy.

The workshop kicked off with keynote talks from senior policymakers, including Dr. Jason Matheny, CEO of RAND and a member of Horizon’s advisory board, and Dr. Steph Guerra, Assistant Director for Health Security and Biodefense at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and alumna of several biosecurity-related fellowship programs including AAAS and ELBI. Over the course of the weekend, participants engaged with content designed to help them understand what it would be like to work as a biosecurity policymaker, including panels and discussions with senior experts in the field with experience at the White House, agencies such as the Departments of Health and Human Services, Defense, and State, Congress, think tanks, and the private sector. They also viewed a tabletop exercise and engaged in hands-on policy development exercises on topics ranging from balancing the benefits and costs of DNA synthesis technologies and dual-use research to accelerating the development and deployment of medical countermeasures.

Several dozen individuals were selected to attend the workshop. Biosecurity challenges are complex and interdisciplinary, and attendees came from a wide variety of backgrounds, including medicine, academia, law, and business. To help them consider a career transition into the field of biosecurity policy, the workshop provided attendees with an opportunity to learn from and network with leading policymakers from inside and outside the U.S. government. Attendees learned about ongoing areas of biosecurity and pandemic-related policy and received access to personalized career advice and resources such as professional coaching, fellowship databases, and more.

Horizon is excited about the role activities such as the Game Changers Workshop can play in advancing our mission of building pathways into public service in fields such as biosecurity. This program is part of a suite of activities that we are engaging in to complement our flagship Horizon Fellowship. We’ll be sharing more updates on these activities in the coming months.

We’re grateful to our partners at the Brown University Pandemic Center, especially Dr. Elizabeth (Beth) Cameron, Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo, and Dr. Wilmot James, for their collaboration in supporting the next generation of biosecurity leaders. The Pandemic Center works to stop pandemics, other biological emergencies, and the harms they pose to health, security, and prosperity and is dedicated to cross-training a new generation of diverse pandemic leaders and equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need to make change in the world.