Ethics and Responsible Research and Innovation
Ethics and Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) is a cross-cutting research theme at BrisSynBio led by Professor Julie Kent (UWE, Bristol) and Dr Darian Meacham (UWE, Bristol).
Julie Kent is a Sociologist and expert in Science and Technology Studies, regulation and governance of health technologies, sociology of the body, feminist bioethics, sociological perspectives on regenerative medicine, biobanks, tissue and cell therapies, research governance and science policy.
Darian Meacham is a philosopher with interests in Philosophy of Technology, Bioethics, Political Philosophy and Philosophy of Biology. He is BrisSynBio’s Philosopher-in-Residence.
The investigators work directly with BrisSynBio’s researchers to understand and explore the ethical, legal, social, environmental and philosophical questions that emerge from research in the Centre. The aim is to better understand what “Responsible Research and Innovation” means in the context of synthetic biology and to implement reflective practices across the Centre.
The first stage of work is focused on four areas of research within the Centre:
- Red blood cells as drug delivery agents
- Wheat Recombination
- Protocell research
- Harnessing synthetic oscillators
The Ethics and RRI theme also contributes to the Centre’s Public Engagement activities.
On 16 April 2015, BrisSynBio hosted a public debate at Bristol’s Watershed Arts Centre on the “value of naturalness in the age of marvelous technologies.” Sir Roland Jackson from the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, Professor Alison Assiter from UWE, Bristol, Professor Nima Yeganefar from the Université de Poitiers and a lively audience discussed and debated in the role of the concepts of “nature” and “naturalness” in ethical and political discourse surrounding emerging biotechnologies. The event was organised and chaired by Darian Meacham.
You can watch a video of the full event or read Nuffield Council member Sir Roland Jackson’s blog about the event. The debate was sponsored by UWE’s Social Science in the City and The Royal Institute of Philosophy in collaboration with the Bristol Festival of Ideas.
Dr Darian Meacham explores the ethics, social, political and environmental issues surrounding the projects at BrisSynBio and the wider world of synthetic biology.