The Mason Institute provides policy advice and input on legal and ethical matters relating to medicine, health and the life-sciences.
In doing so, we are able to draw on the interdisciplinary skills and research interests of our Executive Committee Members as well as our wider research community within and beyond the University of Edinburgh.
We are in a position to provide timely, targeted policy responses on a wide range of issues. These include (but are not limited to):
- Medical law and ethics
- Health research regulation and governance
- Global health emergencies
- Uses of patient and healthcare data
- Reproductive health and assisted reproductive technologies
- Gene editing
- Precision and stratified medicine
- Public health
- Health resource allocation
We engage with policy issues in both responsive and proactive ways: identifying opportunities to respond to public consultations; working with policy-makers on emerging issues within our fields of research interest; and providing specific advice where sought by our contacts in the fields of healthcare, research and regulation. The advice we provide ranges from short responses to focused practical questions, to longer briefing papers, as well as sign-posting to existing relevant publications by members of the Mason Institute.
We engage with practical questions raised by the Scottish Government, the UK Government and other devolved administrations, the NHS, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, third sector organisations and think ranks, and other influencers in the Scottish and UK policy sphere.
If you would like to bring a consultation to our attention or to discuss the possibility of working with us on a particular policy matter, and for further information about the policy-related work of the Mason Institute, please contact the portfolio leads for this aspect of the Mason Institute’s work:
Policy input from the Mason Institute
- In February 2022, MI Deputy Director Emily Postan participated in the Regulatory Horizons Council (RHC) roundtable on neurotechnology regulation and ethics. The (RHC) is an independent expert committee that provides the UK government with impartial, expert advice on the implications of technological innovation and regulatory reform, further details of which can be found here.
- In January 2022 MI provided the following response to the World Health Organisation's consultation on their new Benchmarking Tool which aims to support Member States in evaluating their capacity to provide appropriate ethical oversight of health-related research. View Response
- Deputy Director Edward Dove has recently collaborated with colleagues to produce a response to the Government’s Consultation on ‘Data: A New Direction’ Consultation’. View consultation
- Our Deputy Directors, Dr Edward Dove and Ruby Reed-Berendt, have recently produced a policy report as part of the MRC-UKRI and NIHR-funded UK-REACH project, which investigates if, how, and why, ethnicity affects COVID-19 clinical outcomes in healthcare workers. Their report analyses the legal and ethical issues arising from the collection and use of data about broad aspects of healthcare workers’ lives, and provides recommendations to promote use of data that is legally and ethically acceptable. The full report can be found on the UK-REACH Website
- In January 2021 our Deputy Director Dr Catriona McMillan was appointed as the Convener of the Health and Medical Law Sub-Committee for the Law Society of Scotland. Dr McMillan’s role as convenor is to take the lead on, act as a spokesperson for, and oversee the Sub-Committee’s responses to legal issues in the field that affect Scotland. More details of this work can be found on the Law Society of Scotland website
- A commissioned Liminal Spaces policy brief on 'Does data ownership hinder biomedical research?' written by Annie Sorbie (Edinburgh University), Dr Wifak Gueddana (King’s College, London), Professor Graeme Laurie (Edinburgh University) and Professor David Townend (Maastricht University). View briefing
- A response to UK Parliament’s Human Rights (Joint Committee) call for evidence on the human rights implications of the UK Government’s response to COVID-19. View response
- A response, in April 2018, to the Scottish Government’s consultation on proposals for reform of the Adults with Incapacity Act 2000, which may be viewed on the Scottish Government Website.
- In September 2018 the Mason Institute provided a consultation response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Bill which proposesthat Scotland move from the current ‘opt-in’ system, in which an individual’s organs may be used for transplantation only when they (or, after their death, a close relative) have explicitly authorised this, to one of ‘deemed authorisation’.
- In 2016 Dr Agomoni Ganguli Mitra and Dr Nayha Sethi, wrote a background paper for the Nuffield Council on Bioethics providing an overview of key ethical and governance challenges associated with conducting research and innovation in the context of global health.
- Mason Institute response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on proposals for reform of the Adults with Incapacity Act 2000 (April 2018) View response
- In 2016, Dr Agomoni Ganguli Mitra and Dr Nayha Sethi, wrote a background paper for the Nuffield Council on Bioethics providing an overview of key ethical and governance challenges associated with conducting research and innovation in the context of global health. View background paper