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Feeney photoDr Oliver Feeney

Head, Irish Unit of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics, Centre of Bioethical Research & Analysis, NUI Galway.

Lecturer in Healthcare Ethics, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University College Cork.

Dr Oliver Feeney is a researcher in political theory and bioethics with the Centre of Bioethical Research and Analysis, NUI Galway and lecturer in healthcare ethics, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University College Cork. His primary research is on the ethical, legal and social (justice) implications of biomedical technologies, role of egalitarian ethos in non-ideal theory, trust in science and medicine, ethics of human enhancement, patents and social justice and on the relationship between civic education and social justice. Dr Feeney gained his PhD in political theory from the School of Political Science & Sociology, NUI Galway and the thesis (on genetics and justice) was the winner of the 2009 Basil Chubb Prize. He lectured in political theory in NUIG from 2006-2011 and briefly acted as co-chairperson of NUI Galway’s Social Sciences Research Centre (2011). From 2011-2016, he was a visiting researcher or member of teaching staff at the School of Advanced Studies, University of London; Royal Holloway, University of London; Universidade do Minho, Portugal; Università di Bologna, Italy; Ghent University, Belgium; and Dublin City University, Ireland. Between 2013 and 2017, he was a Management Committee member of COST Action IS1303 (CHIP ME) and served as Chair to one of the Action’s Working Group for the first two years of the Action before taking over the Vice-Chair role for the second two years. In 2016, he was appointed as Head of Ireland’s Unit of the International Network of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and as Member of the Council of its European Division. In November 2016, he was appointed as Vice-Chair of UNESCO Chair in Bioethics International Research Group ‘Bioethics and human rights, forced displacement in conflict scenarios’. In March 2017, at the Annual Meeting of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics, he was appointed as Vice-Chair for Research for the European Division. Since September 2018, he is member and secretary of the Royal Irish Academy’s Life and Medical Sciences Committee. He is currently involved with two H2020-funded European projects – SIENNA (Genomics) and PANELFIT.

Recent and forthcoming publications

Oliver Feeney, Gabriele Werner-Felmayer, Helena Siipi, Markus Frischhut, Silvia Zullo, Ursela Barteczko, Lars Øystein Ursin, Shai Linn, Heike Felzmann, Dušanka Krajnović, John Saunders, and Vojin Rakić (2019) ‘European electronic Personal Health Records initiatives and vulnerable migrants: a need for greater ELSI safeguards’. Developing World Bioethics (Accepted and forthcoming)

Oliver Feeney ‘Commentary: enlightened democracy in practice’ Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics Vol. 28, No. 1 (Jan. 2019).

Oliver Feeney, Julian Cockbain, Michael Morrisson, Lisa Diependaele, Kristof Van Assche & Sigrid Sterckx ‘Patenting foundational technologies: Lessons from CRISPR and other core biotechnologies’. The American Journal of Bioethics Vol. 18, No. 12 (Dec. 2018).

Ana Nordberg, Timo Minssen, Iñigo de Miguel Beriain, Kirmo Wartiovaara, Lucia Galvagni and Oliver Feeney (co-ordinator). ‘Response to Nuffield Council on Bioethics’ Genome editing and human reproduction: open call for evidence’  (Contribution acknowledged in the 2018 Nuffield Report on Genome editing and human reproduction: social and ethical issues)

For full list of publications, see:

Academia page

Follow me on ResearchGate

For related-work in the Royal Irish Academy’s Life and Medical Sciences Committee, see here (RIA biography here)

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Dr Heike Felzmann

Co-Director of the Centre of Bioethical Research and Analysis (COBRA), National University of Ireland (Galway): Host Centre for the Irish Unit.
Vice-Chair of Irish Steering Group.

Dr Heike Felzmann is lecturer in Philosophy/Ethics in the discipline of Philosophy at the School of Humanities, NUI Galway and Co-Director of the Centre of Bioethical Research and Analysis (COBRA) at NUIG. Her area of specialisation is Bioethics, with focus on research ethics, health care ethics and most recently information ethics. She also works in moral theory, with focus on theory in/of Bioethics and has an interest in feminist ethics.
Dr Felzmann is currently involved in a number of European projects:  as Action Chair of the COST Action (CHIPME, IS1303) on Citizen’s Health through public-private Initiatives: Public health, Market and Ethical perspectives, as leader of ethics deliverables in a H2020 project (MARIO) on assistive robotics for elderly with dementia and as subject expert in research ethics on a capacity building project (UNIVERSITARIA) for Romanian Universities. She is also part of  a HEA funded project on digitally mediated interprofessional learning (IPL) in health care.

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Irish Unit Steering Committee

The Steering Committee is a multi-disciplinary team of researchers and practitioners who have expertise in bioethics, law, philosophy, education, religious studies, ethics and social justice.

  • Dr Oliver Feeney (COBRA, NUIG) – Chair
  • Dr Heike Felzmann (COBRA, NUIG) – Vice-Chair
  • Dr Dónal O’Mathúna (DCU)
  • Professor Deirdre Madden (UCC)
  • Professor Andrew Green (UCD; National Centre for Medical Genetics)
  • Professor David Smith (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland)
  • Dr Louise Campbell (School of Medicine, NUIG)
  • Dr Gemma Moore (HSE)
  • Dr Tom Walker (QUB)
  • Dr Richard Hull (COBRA, NUIG)
  • Dr Vesna Malesevic (Political Science & Sociology, NUIG)
  • Dr Peter Morriss (Political Science & Sociology, NUIG)

The Committee will have regular meetings and discussions on the policy of the Irish Unit and the planning of its projects.

The Irish Unit is a member of the European Division of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics.

The Irish Unit was established under the European Division of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics (comprising 40+ European National Units) headed by Professor Vojin Rakić and seated in the Center for the Study of Bioethics (Belgrade). Prof. Rakić is the Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Bioethics, Head of the Serbian Unit of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Chair of the Cambridge Working Group for Bioethics Education in Serbia. He has a PhD in Political Science from Rutgers University in the United States (1998) and was a senior research fellow at the Center for Higher Education Policy Studies at the University of Twente in the Netherlands (1999-2001). Between 2001 and 2003 he was a U.N. Special Adviser to the Government of Serbia and, since 2003, he works as a university professor in Belgrade. His publications focus upon bioethics and political philosophy (with articles in the Journal of Medical Ethics, American Journal of Bioethics, Cambridge Quarterly of Health Care Ethics, American Journal of Bioethics: Neuroscience, and Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy).

Council of the European Division of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics.

The Council is a coordinating and research-orientated sub-unit of the European Division, headed by Professor Vojin Rakić and its members include UNESCO unit heads from Ireland (Dr Oliver Feeney),  Finland (Dr Susanne Uusitalo), United Kingdom (Baroness Ilora Finlay & Professor John Sanders), Austria (Professor Gabriele Werner Felmayer), Belgium (Professor Sigrid Sterckx), and Iceland (Dr Salvör Nordal).

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