Professor Jackie Leach Scully has been elected a Fellow of the Hastings Center, the world’s most prestigious bioethics research institute. She is an internationally recognised bioethicist specialising in disability and feminist bioethics, and is Professor of Bioethics and Director of the Disability Innovation Institute at UNSW Sydney (DIIU).

Hastings Center Fellows are a group of more than 200 individuals of outstanding accomplishment whose work has informed scholarship and public understanding of complex ethical issues in health, health care, science and technology. Their common distinguishing feature is uncommon insight and impact in areas of critical concern to the Center – how best to understand and manage the inevitable values questions, moral uncertainties, and societal effects that arise as a consequence of advances in the life sciences, the need to improve health and health care for people of all ages, and mitigation of human impact on the natural world.

Professor Scully said she is delighted to be joining the company of the Hastings Center Fellows.

“The Center has played a crucial role in developing the field of bioethics through its interdisciplinarity, academic rigour and openness to new ideas, and it’s an exciting privilege to be part of this endeavour. As well as the personal honour, the Fellowship recognises the importance of disability issues in bioethics, and will strengthen the Disability Innovation Institute’s role in global bioethical debate,” she said.

Professor Scully joined the DIIU as director in October 2019. The world-first initiative partners interdisciplinary researchers with people with disability and connects all researchers currently engaged in disability-related scholarship across UNSW.

With a research background in molecular biology and neurobiology, Professor Scully previously held research fellowships at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and the University of Basel, Switzerland, before shifting fields to help establish the first interdisciplinary unit for bioethics at Basel. She then held positions as Director of Research and Executive Director of the Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences Research Centre at Newcastle University in the UK.

Professor Scully’s research focuses on moral thinking and the formation of moral beliefs and attitudes across a wide range of topics in bioethics. Much of her work examines the effect of biomedical technologies on people with disability and other socially marginalised groups, drawing on feminist and disability philosophy and empirical methods. Her book Disability Bioethics: Moral Bodies, Moral Difference (2008) is considered groundbreaking. She is Editor of the International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics, Chair of the NSW Health Ethics Advisory Panel, and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and the Royal Society of Arts in the UK.

Find out more about the Disability Innovation Institute at UNSW.

Belinda Henwood