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Bioethics is a diverse area of study. It includes, but is not limited to:

  • Ethical issues in healthcare
  • Conceptual and philosophical questions arising from biology and the technologies that surround it
  • The role of science and the humanities in understanding life in all its forms

The wide range of research projects and activities of staff and postgraduate research students at the Bioethics Centre aims to examine the conventional and novel moral dilemmas arising from medical research, clinical settings, and advances brought about by life sciences and biotechnologies.

An interdisciplinary approach

Great efforts are focused on exploring previously rarely-chartered areas and innovative conceptual and methodological approaches. This research typically involves aspects of many different academic disciplines.

Staff at the Centre actively collaborate with researchers from such diverse disciplines as:

  • Philosophy
  • The biological sciences
  • Healthcare
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology
  • History
  • Law
  • Theology
  • Psychology

Academic and public engagement

The Bioethics Centre hosts a biennial conference to draw together bioethics researchers throughout New Zealand and beyond to present and discuss theirs and others work.

However the Centre is committed not only to research-informed teaching in its extensive educational program, but also to active engagements with social and public policy issues at local, national and international levels.

Centre staff members are are present on a number of national committees such as the National Ethics Advisory Committee (NEAC) and the Health Research Council Ethics Committee (HREC), as well as University of Otago ethics committees.

Members of staff have also been involved in drafting codes of ethics for health professional bodies.

Sources of external funding

Staff of the Centre have received external research grants from such funding bodies as the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, the Law Foundation, and the Marsden Fund of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

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