The Stem Cell Research Environment: Drawing the Evidence and Experience Together

TERM: October 2008- September 2012

PROJECT LEADER: Research Director, Timothy Caulfield

FUNDING AMOUNT: $392,000

PROJECT SUMMARY:

The ethical, legal and social controversies surrounding stem cell research (SCR) have led to a great deal of variation in stem cell law and public policy among different world jurisdictions. The impact of these variations on current and future developments in the Canadian and international SCR environment remains largely unexamined and presents a wonderful research opportunity. As such, an international team of leading scholars has been assembled to examine the nature of the stem cell research environment, and its impact on: 1) research strategies; 2) movement of trained researchers; 3) capacity to conduct research; 4) intellectual property and ownership of research outputs; 5) funding opportunities; 6)research productivity; 7) reception of emerging technologies; 8) public perceptions of the research and; 9) future investment mechanisms. This work builds on a previous work completed by the investigators involved in this project which focused on the ethical, legal and social issues (ELSI) associated with stem cell research in the national and international context. This team is therefore well positioned to provide a deeper analysis of how ELSI affects not just the conduct, direction and translation of research, but also the translation of ELSI research into effective public policy.

This team is utilizing new and existing legal and social science research tools to carry out a more nuanced analysis of the complex institutional and social structures that have emerged around SCR. The immediate goal of this work is to inform research policy, such as the upcoming review of Canada’s embryo research legislation, the Assisted Human Reproduction Act (AHRA). More broadly, this aim of this work is to produce: data describing the nature and impact of the research environments; policy recommendations and best practices; innovative research tools to measure the return on investment in SCR and other biomedical research; consensus statements on policy positions; and ELSI guidance to various stakeholders including members of the Stem Cell Network, research ethics boards, clinical trial committees, and the public. 


For any questions regarding the above project please contact Robyn Hyde-Lay.
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