Why do governments not follow their own ethical advice in times of crisis?

Ethics and Expertise Beyond Times of Crisis: Learning from international varieties of ethics advice

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Photo by Aditya Joshi on Unsplash

iHuman is part of a new three-year collaboration between the UK, Germany and Australia, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, that seeks to discover why governments do not follow their own ethical advice during times of crisis, what this means for policy decision-making and how this influences outcomes for citizens. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought these questions to the fore. National government strategies, public debate and public health outcomes have varied substantially. The project team will examine the specific role of ethics advice in processes of crisis management, navigating expert knowledge, building organisational networks and policy learning in shaping these international differences, using a case study method to compare the UK, Germany and Australia. How can government ethics advice be organised in the future to improve institutional capacity and agility, strategic thinking, pluralistic forms of expertise, and responsiveness to diverse publics? 

iHuman's Warren Pearce is leading project work on how ethical controversies take shape on digital media. The interdisciplinary project draws on science and technology studies, bioethics, and policy studies, and is led by Professor Jessica Pykett (University of Birmingham)

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