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Bio Policy & Practices Lab

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Bio Policy & Practices Lab

The Bio Policy & Practices Lab was a multidisciplinary research group led by Dr. Megan J. Palmer at Stanford University. The lab operated as the primary research arm of the Bio Policy & Leadership in Society Initiative.

Our research focused on understanding and shaping the social dimensions of biological science and engineering.  We used a variety of disciplinary methods, including both qualitative and quantitative approaches. Our group included members trained in the social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering who transgressed disciplinary boundaries to solve meaningful problems. 

We worked with many faculty, students, and staff at Stanford, as well as collaborators beyond the university. We also partnered closely with a number of organizations looking to put knowledge into practice and to help generate insights. 

Some of the questions that interested us included:

  • How do researchers conceptualize, measure and manage the benefits and risks of their work?
  • What inspires and enables researchers to attend to the societal context of their work?
  • How have conceptions of risks and benefits coupled to research evolved over time, and how has that shaped debates and policy approaches?
  • How might technology design decisions bias different governance options?
  • How is access to technology changing the governance landscape?
  • What predicts performance and learning in team-based science and innovation?

These questions transcend biology but they are especially timely, relevant and consequential for biology. Biology is the fabric of the living world, and our capabilities to engineer biology are rapidly maturing with global consequences. The Center for International Security and Cooperation continues to support a Biotechnology Innovation & International Security Fellowship where scholars continue to explore some of these topics.

Meet Our Lab Members