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Thursday, November 8 • 1:30pm - 3:00pm
(90 min) Mitigating disruption: integrating social, ethical and policy research into the development of disruptive genomic technologies / Atténuer les perturbations : intégration de la recherche sociale, éthique et politique dans le développement de techn

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Organized by: Genome Canada, Rob Annan

Disruptive technologies are double-edged swords. Social media, artificial intelligence (AI), gene editing—all promise enormous economic and social potential. At the same time, they challenge important social norms, policies, and institutions and create unintended and unpredicted consequences.

Society invests significant public resources to support the science and technology that drive these innovations, but invests relatively little to investigate their potential benefits, risks and consequences. Indeed, these are incommensurable – there are no commonly accepted metrics that allow us to evaluate and compare the benefits and risks. Policy makers and the public, faced with rapidly developing technologies, often succumb to reflexive and emotive policy responses.

Since its establishment, Genome Canada has promoted a globally-innovative program (“GE3LS”) to research the ethical, environmental, economic, legal and social issues involved in genomics research. Each large-scale genomics project funded at Genome Canada must integrate a GE3LS research component, promoting a deeper understanding of the broader impact of the research. Dr. Eric Meslin, President of the Council of Canadian Academies and expert on bioethics and science policy, recently led an extensive review of the GE3LS program which identified key lessons for integrating social sciences research into technology development.

Dr. Meslin will chair a session that will explore this topic through two case studies that illustrate how GE3LS works in practice. Each will be co-presented by the project’s genomic and social science researchers who will explain:
- Why it was important to integrate social research into the project;
- The challenges and opportunities this integration presented;
- Expected—and unexpected—benefits observed.

The case studies represent disruptive technological research in genomics. The first describes the development of novel diagnostic technology for breast cancer, the challenges created in supporting informed decision-making by doctors and patients, and the importance of  evaluating the cost-effectiveness of the new technology. The second project focuses on forestry genomics and climate change and integrates research into understanding the ecological, socio-economic and institutional factors that affect the adoption of new technologies in forest management. Both projects are led by internationally-recognized and celebrated Canadian researchers.

Following the case study presentations, Dr. Meslin will moderate a brief discussion between panelists and members of the audience to explore how these case studies might inform the larger context of disruptive technology research, with lessons for ongoing work in artificial intelligence and machine learning, automation and robotics, and beyond.

avatar for Eric M. Meslin, Ph.D., FCAHS

Eric M. Meslin, Ph.D., FCAHS

President and CEO, Council of Canadian Academies
Eric M. Meslin is President and CEO of the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA). He joined the CCA inFebruary, 2016, bringing with him more than 25 years of experience in science policy in both universityand government settings.Dr. Meslin came to the CCA from Indiana University (IU... Read More →

avatar for Sally Aitken

Sally Aitken

Professor and Associate Dean, Research and Innovation, Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia; Director of the Centre for Forest Conservation Genetics
Sally Aitken is a Professor and Associate Dean, Research and Innovation, in the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia, and Director of the Centre for Forest Conservation Genetics. Sally obtained her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research... Read More →
avatar for Shannon Hagerman

Shannon Hagerman

Assistant Professor, University of British Columbia
Shannon Hagerman is an Assistant Professor of Social-Ecological Systems in the Department of Forest Resources Management at the University of British Columbia. Her research examines the science-policy-management interface in the context of adapting conservation and resource management... Read More →
avatar for Bartha Maria Knoppers, PhD

Bartha Maria Knoppers, PhD

Professor, McGill University; Canada Research Chair in Law and Medicine; Director of the Centre of Genomics and Policy
Bartha Maria Knoppers, PhD (Comparative Medical Law), is a Full Professor, Canada Research Chair in Law and Medicine and Director of the Centre of Genomics and Policy of the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University. She is the founder of the Public Population Project in Genomics (P3G... Read More →
avatar for Jacques Simard

Jacques Simard

Canadian Research Chair in Oncogenetics; Professor, Department of Molecular Medicine, Université Laval
Jacques Simard, PhD holds a Canadian Research Chair in Oncogenetics since 2001. He is Professor in the Department of Molecular Medicine at Université Laval’s Faculty of Medicine and is a senior scientist at the CHU de Québec - Université Laval Research Center since 1990. He is... Read More →

Thursday November 8, 2018 1:30pm - 3:00pm EST
Delta Hotel - Joliet-Frontenac