How is philosophy being used to solve contemporary issues?

Will work on presenting these cases in a more attractive way. 

Māori philosopher Dr Krushil Watene is part of a global leadership network working towards a sustainable future and healthier planet. In 2020 Dr Watene was appointed to the Advisory Board of the United Nations Human Development Report along with other leading economists and humanitarian thinkers, as part of this Dr Krushil says their work will highlight the global impact of indigenous communities and the significance of indigenous philosophies and practises. 

not only did I see the way in which our infrastructure is enacted in health…but the struggles to change that infrastructure that determines how we delivery and design health services for our people.” 

Advancing medical ethics for children, families, and practitioners 

The work of University of Melbourne researchers at the Children’s Bioethics Centre (located within Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital) has led to the creation of guidelines around key ethical issues in paediatric care, furthering the protection of children and informing and facilitating ethical deliberation and consultation between parents and clinicians. Researchers also run a referral service for advising on ethical issues which is widely used globally. Such consultations resolve conflict, facilitate communication, and ease moral distress in health care. 

PhD bioethics Monash – Merle Spriggs and Lyn Gillam  

Educational resources for Human Research Ethics Committees (HRECs) 

Surgical innovation is an essential part of modern healthcare. New techniques, such as robotic and laparoscopic surgery, and new devices, such as joint replacements and blood vessel grafts, have improved the health of millions. But surgical research and innovation can be risky for patients, some of whom have been harmed by their surgeons “trying something new”. Macquarie’s research in this area has had local, national and international impact on support for safer surgical research and innovation. Macquarie research has been included in professional guidance of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, led to changes in international guidance on evaluating surgical innovations, informed revisions to Australian research ethics guidelines, and influenced local health district practice. 

Katrina Hutchison 


Based on their research on the nature and functioning of social norms, a team of ANU philosophers was commissioned to write a background paper for the chapter on norms in the World Bank’s annual flagship publication, the World Development Report 2015: Mind, Society and Behavior. Based on that report, the World Bank shifted from a narrow focus on economic rationality and created a new behavioural insights unit to guide its work. That unit has now conducted 80 projects in 50 countries, many achieving great success in healthcare and tax compliance by altering social norms. 


Western Sydney University (WSU) researchers investigated ways to counter the growth of Islamophobia and associated anti-Muslim racism in Australia. Muslims experience discrimination and race hate talk three times more often than other Australians, and over 60% of Muslims experience racism in the workplace. The research reduced Islamophobic sentiment amongst the general public, service agencies and media, encouraged pro-social attitudes towards and action against racism, and positively influenced attitudes towards cultural diversity. The research has also influenced how government, community groups and police respond to Muslims and Islamophobia. 




Impact in Global Public Health policy concerning the bioethics impact regarding gain-of-function research and the response to public health emergencies such as Ebola and Zika is led by Prof Michael Selgelid of the Monash Bioethics Centre. Selgelid has produced reports and contributed to guideline documents, been invited to committees and to make recommendations, and participated in implementation processes. Combined with the regulatory status of several partners, these activities have had significant, wide and international impact for end-users in the context of global public health policy and practice. Evidenced impact includes decision-making at the US Government as well as (UN) World Health Organisation policies and recommendations regarding response to infectious disease outbreaks.


This research has led to important interventions in the ethics of warfare and training of defence personnel in Australia, France, Canada, USA and UK. Based on research with defence force members, A/Professor Coleman wrote a textbook promoting personal and collective responsibility in military ethics education. This is now used at military training institutions across three continents. The approach taken to military ethics in Coleman’s textbook is unique and innovative. It takes a case study approach, facilitating reflective discussion amongst junior and mid-career trainees on the life or death situations they face. Coleman has also encouraged public debate on the rapidly changing technologies of warfare through his widely circulated 2011 TEDx talk on the ethics of non-lethal weapons.