Policy Engagement

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, please get in touch with us by emailing Dr Emily Postan and Ms Annie Sorbie.

Examples of recent policy input provided by the Mason Institute include:

  • 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,  which may be viewed here.
  • 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 here.
  • 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 our Co-Director, Dr Agomoni Ganguli Mitra, and Deputy Director, 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.

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, Dr Emily Postan and Ms Annie Sorbie.