Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The business of research

While perusing The Daily Tar Heel, which is UNC Chapel Hill's daily newspaper, I came across this article in the Opinions section. The Department of Homeland Security has considered the Triangle area to be one of five finalists for the location of their new National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility. Naturally, there are the NIMBYs who are opposing efforts to bring the NBAF to Butner (in Granville County, NC) with concerns of safety, especially considering it would be classified a Biosafety Level-4 research facility. My sense of it, however, is that this is ignorance talking, in addition to fears in the wake of the disastrous Environmental Quality (EQ) Company chemical explosion in Apex a couple of years ago. However, despite those fears, I agree with the editorial writer in that having the facility in Butner would be good, economically, for that city, Granville County, and the Triangle area as a whole. It will bring in needed money and jobs in the area. (Heck, if my qualifications fit, and they can use an organic chemist with experience with cell and molecular biology techniques, I would apply for a job there!)

The DHS's page on the proposed NBAF includes a FAQ of sorts in the form of clickable links to learn more about what type of research they would be doing, and why such a facility is needed. I hope that the more people learn about the hows and whys of such a facility, the more they would realise that having it would be a benefit and not a liability.

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