November 7, 2011
ATLANTA - Professor Roberta M. Berry traveled to Hokkaido University to present on her National Science Foundation-funded research on October 28, 2011, the opening day of the 6th International Conference on Applied Ethics. Hokkaido University is one of the "National Seven Universities" (former "imperial universities") of Japan and is located in Sapporo.
She presented her theoretical work on a "navigational approach" to policymaking for ethically contentious science policy problems (what she calls "fractious problems’). Her research involves an educational experiment to test this work, and it incorporates interdisciplinary faculty and graduate students from GSU College of Law, Emory University, Morehouse School of Medicine, and Georgia Tech.
"The educational experiment involves graduate students in law, medicine, the biological sciences and bioengineering, public policy, and the humanities who take a semester-long course together and work in interdisciplinary teams. Their major assignments are to propose collaborative solutions to significant ethical dilemmas in science and society," explained Berry. "Our preliminary results are showing that "navigational" skills can be taught and that taking a "navigational approach" to such problems allows professionals from different disciplinary backgrounds to come up with thoughtful as well as viable solutions to some very tough ethical problems facing science and society."
The series of international conferences on applied ethics in Sapporo is sponsored by Hokkaido University’s Center for Applied Ethics and Philosophy. The conferences serve as an international crossroads for researchers working on issues in ethics, policy, and law from nations around the globe.
"The goal of the conference organizers was to foster opportunities for collaborations in research and education in applied ethics and for networking among scholars from all over the world," said Berry. Nations represented at this year’s conference included Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, the Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Taiwan, the U.K., and the U.S.
"The conference was an incredible opportunity for me to share my research with knowledgeable experts from around the world," Berry said. "I was delighted by the wide interest shown in our project and for the chance to help make interdisciplinary education in ethics a global reality."
Berry is a Faculty Fellow with the Center for Law, Health & Society, and is an Associate Professor in her home institution, Georgia Tech’s School of Public Policy. The GSU College of Law research team on the NSF project consists of Professors Leslie Wolf (co-principal investigator) with Paul Lombardo and Charity Scott on the advisory board.
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