School of Philosophy: Seminar Series


Why engage: Reflections on deliberative democracy and public consultation.

Start Date

6th Dec 2012 3:00pm

End Date

6th Dec 2012 5:00pm


Room 548, Humanities Building, Sandy Bay campus

RSVP / Contact Information

6226 2255

Professor Michael M. Burgess, UBC


 "Why engage: Reflections on deliberative democracy and public consultation."

Public deliberation has the potential to provide police advice that incorporates technical information, wide social perspectives into a focus on collective interests. This discussion will illustrate one approach that attempts to implement the theories of deliberative democracy in events, and consider the primary theoretical and practical challenges that have arisen across nine events.

Michael M. Burgess is Professor and research Chair in Biomedical Ethics at the W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics, School of Population and Public Health and with an appointment in the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia. He was Principal of the College for Interdisciplinary Studies from 2008-2011, with administrative and academic leadership responsibility for interdisciplinary research centres, graduate programs and faculty appointments as well as building capacity for interdisciplinary collaboration across Faculties.

Burgess' recent research has been on health, science and technology policy and public engagement based on theories of deliberative democracy. Funded primarily by Genome Canada and BC, the research team developed an approach to deliberative engagement, with nine associated events in BC, Quebec, at the Mayo Clinic and in Western Australia. The most common topic has been biobanks, but Burgess and Kieran O'Doherty (University of Guelph) have also partnered on public deliberative engagements related to salmon genomics, environmental remediation and biofuels. The research has had direct uptake into policy, governing structures and standards of practice, and has been widely published.Burgess has recently begun to emphasize the wider social effects and policy implications of genomic and computational technologies often characterized as 'personalized medicine'. He is a collaborator with the faculty at the University of Tasmania's Centre for Law and Genetics, and is working with a team in Western Canada on trustworthy governance of indigenous peoples' biobanks.

This talk is hosted by the School of Philosophy and the Australian Centre for Excellence in Electromaterials Science (ACES) Ethics program []