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

  • Saheli Datta BurtonEmail author
  • Christine Aicardi
  • Tara Mahfoud
  • Nikolas Rose
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10928)


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.


Dual use Competitiveness Human security 



This work was supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme (European Commission) [grant number 720270 (HBP SGA1)].


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Global Health and Social MedicineKing’s College LondonLondonUK

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