September 23, 2021, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Translational Bioethics: A distinctive entity or emperor’s new clothes?

This workshop will explore the concept of translational bioethics in relation to empirical bioethics, bringing together academic bioethics researchers, clinicians, and those actively involved in policy.

University of Bristol or online event


Bioethics has sometimes struggled to engage with clinical practice. Clinicians are often unaware of much of the bioethics literature and ethicists may not have a full understanding of evolving clinical realities. This has been recently exemplified by the response of the bioethics community to the COVID-19 pandemic; the flurry of publications continues, but it is an open question as to how much such work has meaningfully contributed to the pandemic response. For bioethics research to increase its role in policy and practice, a focus on what has been called “translational (bio)ethics” may be appropriate.This workshop will bring together academic bioethics researchers, clinicians, and those actively involved in policy to examine the concept of translational bioethics in relation to empirical bioethics. We will seek to answer two research questions:

How should translational bioethics be defined and what is (and should be) its purpose?

  • What does good translational bioethics look like and is there any potential for quality standards to be agreed?

The format of the day will be a small number of talks followed by breakout group discussions, and then a full group discussion. At the end, we will dedicate some time to discussion of output. Our speakers include:

  • Dr Michael Dunn | Associate Professor, University of Oxford
  • Professor Albert Weale | Emeritus Professor of Political Theory and Public Policy, UCL
  • Katharine Wright | Assistant Director, Nuffield Council on Bioethics

At present, we hope to be able to host the workshop in person at the University of Bristol. However, depending on the situation with COVID-19, we may move to a virtual or hybrid format. If the workshop can take place in person, lunch and refreshments will be provided, and, if permitted, it will be followed by an optional dinner (also provided). We also have a number of travel bursaries of c. £50 each (depending on need, we may be able to offer more) to support attendees who do not have access to alternative sources of funding.

Deadline for expressions of interest: 5pm, Friday 30 July 2021

To enable group discussion, there are limited places available at this workshop. Further, we want a good mix of academics, clinicians, and policy workers. If you would like to participate, please complete the short expression of interest form available here. We will confirm whether we can invite you to join the workshop by Friday 6 August 2021.

Thanks to the Institute of Medical Ethics for supporting this workshop.

Contact information

Should you have any questions, please contact Jordan Parsons: