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Systems Thinking for Governance of Emerging Biotechnologies
Emerging technologies arise from and are placed into a complex web of social, environmental, ethical and cultural contexts. Often, years after the introduction of a technology, we are surprised by, and sometimes regret, its societal impacts. Motivated by this problem, my work for the past two decades has centered around understanding the dynamics and outcomes of governance systems (retrospective and observational) and applying these insights to future policy design (prospective and normative). Specific projects have examined how to make responsible, fair and effective regulatory decisions about emerging biotechnologies in the face of uncertainty and complexity; engage and incorporate diverse perspectives into governance design and policy change; and integrate multiple types of criteria (e.g., economic, health and environmental to ethical) in the evaluation of policies or decisions. This presentation will highlight our key projects in these areas, and while doing so, l will share my experiences within the multi-disciplinary and translational settings that have enabled the work. In closing, I will reflect on the leadership positions I’ve held at the nexus of innovation and society with the hope to spark dialogue with the audience about the joys and challenges of integrative research, education and engagement to better inform and improve our futures.