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The Limits to Governance
The Challenge of Policy-making in the New Life Sciences

Lyall, C   Smith, J   Papaioannou, T  (eds)

Ashgate   June 1 2009

ISBN 978-0-7546-7508-2 (hardback)

Does the state still frame debates about new technology? Can policy-makers ensure the benefits of health developments through genomics while still satisfying the expectations of society and the economic imperatives?

In this critique of the new governance agenda for research and innovation in life sciences, the authors discuss the world-wide policy decisions needed, with particular reference to genomics. They suggest the many facets of policy and regulation could be treated as a ‘governance continuum’, where different aspects of genomics may sit at different points, and co-exist. Their findings offer valuable insights for the future and will help promote a global solution to this problem.

‘This is a much-needed, constructively critical look at governance as the proposed alternative to top-down government approaches. It is generally relevant, not just for the new life sciences which are the occasion for this volume. Enjoy the variety of the chapters, and in particular the sustained attention to what is happening in African countries.’ – Arie Rip, University of Twente, The Netherlands


Preface: The challenge of policy-making for the new life sciences – Catherine Lyall, Theo Papaioannou and James Smith

Part 1: Principles

  • Governance and justice: the challenge of genomics – Theo Papaioannou
  • The roles of values and interests in the governance of the life sciences: learning lessons from the ‘ethics+’ approach of UK Biobank – Graeme Laurie, Ann Bruce and Catherine Lyall
  • Governing reproductive treatment and research: from the moral to the political to the legal - and back again? Or ‘There and back again, a regulator’s (Hobbit’s) odyssey (holiday)’ – Shawn H.E. Harmon

Part 2: Processes

  • Evolution along the government-governance continuum: impacts of regulations on medicines innovation in the United States – Christopher-Paul Milne and Joyce Tait
  • Governments and governance of bioscience as a ‘new security challenge’ – Paul Nightingale and Caitríona McLeish
  • Biosciences, ‘development’ and the abstraction of governance – James Smith
  • Ever-changing policy context: the one stable threat to biotech governance in Africa? – Julius Tazvishaya Mugwagwa

Part 3: People

  • Advocacy groups as research organizations: novel approaches in research governance – Nadja Kanellopoulou
  • Non-governmental limits: governing biotechnology from Europe to Africa – Matthew Harsh
  • Deliberative governance: political fad or a vision of empowerment? – Peter Bryant
  • Governance in action in the life sciences: some lessons for policy – Catherine Lyall, Theo Papaioannou and James Smith