Graduate Fellowship in Applied Ethics


Supporting UBC graduate students working in applied ethics

The fellowship will provide a one-time annual stipend of $22,000 plus a research-related allowance of $1,500, as well as access to office space at the CAE in the Klinck Building on UBC Vancouver campus. Applicants from UBC Okanagan are also welcomed and efforts will be made to include successful UBC Okanagan fellowship holders in CAE activities via Zoom and/or provision for a visit to the UBC campus.

The period of the fellowship will be the 2021 academic year (i.e., September 1, 2021 to August 31, 2022). Applicants must be enrolled in a graduate program at UBC during this period.

Relevant topics for this fellowship include but are not limited to: bioethics, business ethics, environmental ethics, public health ethics,  research ethics and health inequities.

Students receiving other scholarships may receive a top-up from the Graduate Fellowship in Applied Ethics to a total of $22,000.

Expectations for graduate fellows:

  • Regularly meet with a CAE faculty member who advises on this project.
  • Interact with other CAE fellows and attend CAE events.
  • Organize a lecture by a visiting scholar in their area of interest (supported by $2,500 from the CAE’s Visiting Scholar Fund).
  • Give a presentation of their work-in-progress at UBC.
  • Write a dissertation or thesis chapter or publishable article on a topic of applied ethics.

Application procedures

Deadline: March 15, 2021

Applications should be emailed to the CAE Director David Silver ( and should include:

  • A letter describing the research project the applicant intends to pursue and its connection to applied ethics. This letter should also indicate which CAE regular faculty member or members the applicant expects to work with on this project. (CAE regular faculty members are: Mike Burgess, Susan Cox, Anita Ho, David Silver, and Daniel Steel.) Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact a potentially interested CAE faculty prior to submitting their applications.
  • A sample of the applicant’s written work.
  • The applicant’s curriculum vitae.
  • Transcripts from undergraduate and graduate studies (if applicable).
  • Two letters of recommendation, one of which should be from the applicant’s supervisor.

Awards adjudication

Applications will be assessed by an awards adjudication committee comprised of regular CAE faculty. The criteria for assessment are:

  • Quality of the candidate’s scholarly record overall (including CV, transcripts, sample of writing and letters of reference).
  • Identification of a relevant applied ethics issue or problem to be undertaken during fellowship and rationale supporting the proposed work.
  • Fit with a regular CAE faculty member who is willing to supervise the student/project.
  • Identification of specific outputs that will arise from fellowship period (such as publishable papers, conference presentations, dissertation chapter).
  • Consideration will be given to life, career and work experiences in addition to academic qualifications.
  • We encourage applications from members of groups that have been marginalized on any grounds enumerated under the B.C. Human Rights Code, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, racialization, disability, political belief, religion, marital or family status, age, and/or status as a First Nation, Metis, Inuit, or Indigenous person.

Current and Former Graduate Fellows

Matthew Smithdeal

Matthew Smithdeal is a neurodivergent, genderqueer PhD candidate in the Department of Philosophy. They specialize in Philosophy of Psychology and Psychiatry and investigate the cognitive architecture underpinning our tendency to essentialize individuals based on socially constructed categories. More specifically, they are interested in understanding how essentializing categories of people relates to an increased tendency to stereotype and dehumanize members of the essentialized category.

At the Centre, they are primarily examining how biogenetic explanations for mental conditions contribute to an increase in stereotyping and dehumanization of neurodivergent individuals. They are working on designing Research-based Theatre interventions that translate lived experiences and one’s narrative to neurotypical individuals to mitigate this tendency

Kinley Gillette

Kinley Gillette is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Philosophy, where he has a designated research specialization in Science and Technology Studies (STS). Kinley’s research combines philosophy of science with political theory in an effort to understand the role of expertise in democracy, especially in the context of environmental governance. In particular, Kinley uses democratic theory to evaluate attempts to democratize science and examines the epistemic and political stability of “divisions of labour” that separate experts from non-experts in collective decision-making. Kinley is also a co-organizer of the STS-Sciences Discussion Group, which brings STS scholars and scientists together to discuss the politics of science and science communication.

Jad Brake

Jad Brake is a PhD Candidate in Anthropology at UBC. His PhD research explores how autistic adults  experience autism. Specifically, Jad uses an ethnographic approach to study the ways in which autistic adults in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia practice and perceive friendship relationships.

In his research project for The W. Maurice Young Center for Applied Ethics Fellowship, Jad examines ethical challenges and complexities arising in the context of ethnographic research with autistics. In particular, and drawing on a relational ethics perspective, Jad’s project emphasizes the importance of creating and maintaining trust relationships between the researcher and the researched established and maintained through social practices of engagement, care, and responsibility. This approach has implications for how researchers treat the issue of informed consent and more generally for how we think about what best supports the autonomy of research participants, especially those who are considered as more volnurable.

Kate Jaffe

Kaitlyn Jaffe is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Sociology and a graduate fellow at the SPPH Centre for Applied Ethics. As a medical sociologist, Kaitlyn’s scholarly interests center around the social determinants of health, health equity, research ethics, and the construction of medical knowledge. Her dissertation research uses nested qualitative interviews to study experiences of clinical trial participation among marginalized groups, specifically people who use drugs. The aim of this research is to understand how social processes can shape medical knowledge production as well as identify strategies for improving the design and conduct of clinical trials in substance use research. Kaitlyn’s research is supported by a CIHR Vanier Fellowship and the UBC Public Scholars Initiative.

Alina McKay

Alina McKay is a PhD Candidate at UBC’s School of Population and Public Health and a Fellow at the Centre for Applied Ethics. Her research focuses on housing in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES) and the lessons that can be learned from the long history of supportive housing in the area. This analysis also takes into account the history of intensive research in the DTES and the ethics of engaging in research with people living there. Her findings support the need for researchers and their institutions to take on new responsibilities including commitments to publishing Open Access (i.e. feely accessible to anyone anywhere in the world) and measures that ensure that research findings are shared in meaningful ways with participants that center community voices and expertise.

Madeleine Ransom

Madeleine Ransom is a former fellow at the W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics (2018-2019), where she worked on bias in perceptual learning as it pertains to bias in machine learning and human implicit bias, under the supervision of Dr. David Silver. After completing her PhD in philosophy at UBC, she was the recipient of a SSHRC postdoctoral award (2020-2022). She will continue to work on bias in perceptual learning at the Percepts and Concepts lab with Dr. Rob Goldstone at Indiana University, Bloomington. She will also take up a one-year postdoctoral position (2020-2021) at the Centre for Philosophical Psychology at the University of Antwerp, where she will work with Dr. Bence Nanay on bias in multi-sensory integration.

Sina Fazelpour

Sina Fazelpour is a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Postdoctoral Fellow at the Philosophy Department of Carnegie Mellon University. He holds a PhD in Philosophy from the University of British Columbia, a M.Sc in medical biophysics from the University of Toronto, and a B.Eng in electrical and biomedical engineering from McMaster University. His primary research interests are in the philosophy of science and the ethics of science and technology. His research focuses on characterizing the potential harms of algorithmic decision making and evaluating proposed mitigation policies. He also works on understanding the impact of demographic diversity on groups. He has published in the philosophy of science and cognitive science, and his research has been supported by Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship, W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics Fellowship, and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

Maya Lefkowich

Maya Lefkowich is a PhD student in the Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Program.

She holds a Master of Public Health degree from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health (at the University of Toronto) where she focused on masculinities and men’s health. Maya is now pursuing research on empowerment journalism – a collaborative approach to reporting on/with marginalized communities. Through her PhD research and Graduate Fellowship in Ethics, Maya will draw on Indigenous, arts-based, and journalism perspectives to explore the ethical implications of solidarity, collaboration, representation, and digital storytelling in First Nations communities in Northern Canada. Originally from Toronto, Maya loves living so close to mountains and the ocean, and is very excited to explore more of Northern Canada as part of her research.

Jennica Nichols

Hello! My name is Jennica Nichols. I was born and raised in Southern Ontario, although I have called Vancouver, British Columbia home since 2016. I have a BSc (molecular biology and biotechnology) and a MPH (epidemiology and global health). I am currently working on my PhD. I research ways to increase research relevance and use by shifting how research is done, how findings are used, and who benefits from the process. I draw from implementation science, public health, evaluation, and education to do this. I try to use my position as a researcher and evaluator to fight for social justice and improve health equity. My current research interest include research-based theatre as a method to do integrated knowledge translation, ethics in arts-based research, intervention co-design, and meaningful stakeholder engagement. On my free time, I like to nerd out about evolution, data science, food, and sustainability.  I am also a scuba diver, camping & biking enthusiast, music lover, and fan of hole-in-the-wall restaurants.

Itai Bavli

Itai Bavli is a PhD Candidate at the University of British Columbia’s Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Program in the fields of public health, public policy and applied ethics. His research focuses on public health errors and post-market regulations in the United States and Canada. He has recently been awarded the W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics Graduate Fellowship for a proposal titled: “OxyContin abuse—Ethical issues regarding post-market regulation by the FDA and Health Canada.” He investigates how much evidence – and what kind of evidence – should be sufficient for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Health Canada to justify regulatory action in response to a (potential) public health error.

Mr. Bavli is also a researcher at the Gertner Institute for Epidemiology and Health Policy Research in Israel, where he is part of a research group that investigates the response of health authorities in the United States and Israel to the adverse effects of radiation treatment. He received his BA (Political Science and International Relations) and MA (Political Science) from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Adam Kay

Adam is in his final year of doctoral studies in Organizational Behavior at the UBC Sauder School of Business.

He has an undergraduate degree in Commerce and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Victoria, as well as a Masters of Laws from Osgoode Hall Law School. Prior to pursuing his doctoral work, Adam was a multinational biotech business manager, an international trade and investment lawyer, and an executive coach and consultant. His current research interests include mindfulness, moral identity, pro-social giving, and corporate social responsibility. Adam’s research has been published in peer-reviewed journals with the Journal of Personality & Social Psychology and Academy of Management Perspectives, as well as in book chapters with Routledge, Guilford Press, and Oxford University Press. As a graduate fellow of the W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics, Adam will be examining the effect of mindfulness on moral identity, and its downstream effects on deviant workplace behaviors.