Biological research will be a key element of the recently announced first phase of Europe's security research program, which will focus on improving the European Union's military and defense capabilities.

Fabio Fabbi, spokesman for Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin, told The Scientist that the overall goal of the security program would be to boost European science and technology order to ensure the security of European citizens.

"Biological research is one of the key elements of the whole strategy," he said. "Not offensive weapons, but the EU's defensive capabilities."

Specifically, that would mean reducing the risk of biological and chemical attacks and protecting against their possible effects, he said. This might be through rapid detection and warning systems, technologies to enable efficient neutralization of agents used in attacks, or satellite surveillance of sensitive areas like water reservoirs and nuclear sites.

Other areas of security research will include information and communication systems...

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