The wide range of research projects and activities of 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.
Great efforts are focused on exploring previously rarely-chartered areas and innovative conceptual and methodological approaches. Moreover, 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.
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.
The research interests of staff and postgraduate students are various, but much research they do can be grouped into the following themes:
Māori perspectives on genetic biotechnologies and body/organ donation, the nature of indigenous knowledge, medical ethics in China, Confucian and Daoist perspectives on bioethics, Chinese voices on abortion, the ideology and ethics of China's birth control program, rebuilding patient-physician trust in China, healthcare in rural China, Japan's wartime medical atrocities and international aftermath, the role of acupuncture for mental health, and the search for a transcultural and global bioethics.
The overlap between neuroscience and ethics creates problems involving neuroimaging and information use, moral aspects of personhood and brain changes that explain behaviour or affect a person's identity, and the ethical importance of consciousness.
How should mental health and ill-health be conceptualised, investigated, and treated? The picture today is complex, confusing and perhaps even contradictory. Today, people with various forms of mental health problems may find themselves consulting a psychiatrist, a clinical or a neuro-psychologist, a counsellor, or possibly a neurosurgeon—and perhaps more than one of these.
Ethical considerations in the use of reproductive technologies, and ethical issues arising from social policy in the area of reproduction: IVF, surrogacy, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, gene editing, reproductive policy in China.
Ethical considerations that arise from the practice of medicine within sport: threats to medical professionalism from commercial interests in sport, enhancement of sporting achievement, athlete confidentiality within sporting employment structure, responding to athlete risk taking.