Prickly Research is the consultancy of Edward Hammond, a researcher and writer who has worked since the mid-1990s on policy issues related to biodiversity, agricultural genetic resources, infectious disease, laboratory biosafety, and intellectual property.

These days (mid-2024) Hammond pretends that he is "retired", but he still just can't stop himself from at least sporadic research and advocacy work. Since late 2022, he's worked for nobody but himself, but he'll consider your contract offer if it's up his alley.

The consultancy's name relates to the fact that its work is often a thorn in the side of its research subjects, typically multinational corporations, universities, and government agencies.

Edward Hammond's bold public interest research has been profiled in Science magazine, the New York Times, and elsewhere. He has authored articles for the British Medical Journal, New Scientist, and Biosecurity & Bioterrorism. He is experienced with federal and state open records law in the United States.

Prickly Research is based in Austin, Texas.

About Me

I can usually be found hanging around at the intersection of biotechnology and policy. You might have heard of my work in relation to biopiracy (again), the WHO PIP Framework, the strange character behind the GISAID database, "terminator" technology, the "gene drive files", the "gay bomb" and other, more real so-called "non-lethal" weapons, biodefense lab controversies, and biological threat assessment run amuck, including the question of smallpox virus stocks.

My current (2024) research and advocacy interest is the origin of the COVID pandemic and, more particularly, the coming policy and legal responses if it is acknowledged by governments that the pandemic was the result of a laboratory accident. A past and sometimes ongoing interest is applying access and benefit sharing principles to use of digital sequence information in commercial biological research.

In the past I have served as an expert and/or as a civil society representative on several UN committees, including the Convention on Biological Diversity's Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) on Digital Sequence Information, its AHTEG on Synthetic Biology, and the Working Group to Enhance the Multilateral System of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. I have also been involved in the negotiation and implementation of the WHO Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework.

My proudest moments include...

- Being kicked ouf of the Chemical Weapons Convention by the United States delegation (confirmed by a European diplomat attending the Bureau meeting), and thereby becoming the first non-Taiwanese NGO to ever be ejected from the CWC. The US sought to suppress a discussion on biochemicals, including opiods, that were being tinkered with by governments as so-called "non-lethal" chemical weapons. Only months later, Vladimir Putin's "non-lethal" opiod concoction killed over 100 people in the Dubrovka Theater incident in Moscow.

- Catching Texas A&M University in serious violations of the Bioterrorism Act, leading to an FBI raid on campus, a Congressional hearing, and a seven figure fine.

- Shocking the WHO Director General with a public campaign that led to a de facto ban on genetic engineering of variola virus (smallpox).

- Playing a significant role in the creation of the Biodiversity Convention ban on commercialization of genetic use restriction technology ("Terminator Technology").

- Writing, under a pseudonym, a report on biopiracy ("Out of Africa") that proved influential in galvanizing developing country support for the Nagoya Protocol.

- Exposing the shocking history and habits of the leader of the GISAID database, a story that has raised serious questions about management of globally important collections of pathogen gene sequences.

- Finally, though I wouldn't call it a proud moment because it was dumb luck, I was the guy that filed the FOIA that discovered the "gay bomb", a real US Air Force proposal to develop a chemical weapon that would make enemy soldiers gay. After my friend Russ Kick (RIP) shared a link to it in his e-mail newsletter, the "Gay Bomb" went viral and briefly became a cultural phenomenon. Here's the dramatized version of the story from 30 Rock.


FOIA Results (Dump Folder)
Short CV


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Twitter: @pricklyresearch