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Public Engagement

The Centre’s public engagement programme is comprised of three closely related and interconnected sets of activities. Through consultation we ensure that the research conducted by the Centre is informed by public views, concerns, and perspectives. Through collaboration, we encourage public involvement in our research. Through informational activities we aim to inspire publics to engage in discussion of these important ethical issues. An important theme throughout this work is the use of different and innovative approaches to promoting and supporting discussion and debate about these important ethical issues with our key audiences. The Centre’s Public Engagement programme places an emphasis on creating thought-provoking activities that provide extensive opportunities for audiences to reflect and discuss issues with the researchers involved.

In its engagement activities, the Centre works in close collaboration with the University of Oxford’s public engagement with research programmes, with the Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH), with the Wellcome Trust’s in-house Public Engagement and International Engagement teams.

Developments in neuroscience, genomics, and data science, together with rapidly increasing global connectedness call for a radical rethinking of the norms underpinning the ethics of biomedical science and technological innovation. The Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities complements its ethics and humanities research activities with an integrated programme of public engagement to engage a broad section of society in these conversations.

The development of effective solutions to the problems presented by developments in these new areas of science and technology requires the bringing to bear of multiple perspectives and experiences. It is vital for such deliberation to be inclusive and diverse if it is to be capable of supporting models of good practice capable of commanding well-founded public trust and confidence. For these reasons, whilst engaging with many different audiences, the Centre pays particular attention to the engagement of groups that tend to be seen as difficult to reach and tend not to be included in engagement with the ethical issues arising in scientific developments.

Read our Public Engagement Strategy (pdf, 789 KB) to find out more about Public Engagement at the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities.


Evaluation reports

Debating Data: A Citizens' Jury

Do you know how your medical data is being used and why? Are you happy for your data to be used in research? Are your cells as important to you as an image of your brain, for example? Should these different types of data be used differently? In February 2020, we held a Citizens' Jury event with 20 public participants at the Oxford Town Hall. Our evaluation report gives insight on the participants' perspectives on whether different types of medical data (genomics, imaging, pathology slides) should be used and shared differently within healthcare or research.

Read the report (pdf, 366 KB)

Upcoming events

Human challenge studies in endemic settings: ethical issues

Wednesday, 07 October 2020, 11am to 12.30pm @ This WEH/Ethox seminar will be held on Zoom, see link below.

Self-Defeating Codes of Medical Ethics and How to Fix Them: Failures in COVID-19 Response and Beyond

Wednesday, 21 October 2020, 2.30pm to 4pm @ This WEH/Ethox seminar will be held on Zoom, see link below.

Our Moral Fate: Evolution and the Escape From Tribalism

Thursday, 22 October 2020, 1pm to 2.30pm @ This meeting will be held via Zoom. See registration details below.

The New St Cross Special Ethics Seminars are jointly arranged by the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics and the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities (WEH).