Michael M. Burgess is Professor in the research Chair in Biomedical Ethics at the W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics, within the School of Population and Public Health, and in the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia. For 2019-2024, he is Associate Provost, Strategy at the UBC’s Okanagan campus.

Burgess combines ethical and social theory with social science methods related to policy in health care, health research and biotechnology. He is primarily interested in identifying neglected or novel perspectives to assure that the theoretical approaches and recommendations engage with poorly understood or disenfranchised perspectives. The focus of his interdisciplinary collaboration is to engage various “publics” in dialogue about the role of health- and biotechnologies in society, to inform policy and to sustain continued discussion on important ethical issues.

Burgess’ graduate supervision has been primarily in the Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Program (Vancouver), the graduate programs of the School of Population and Public Health, and most recently the Okanagan Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies program. His seminars typically include students with backgrounds in science, health care, health research, social science and humanities. His research has been funded by SSHRC, CIHR, Genome Canada and Genome BC, as well as NGOs and industry contracts. 

Most recently Burgess’ research has focused on science and technology policy and public engagement based on theories of deliberative democracy. In collaboration with Kieran O’DohertyHis research has focused on developing approaches to public deliberation, with over 25 events in Canada, Australia the US. The majority of these deliberations have been on biobanks, the use of data in health systems and research, and funding decisions in health care. Current research projects, listed below, are all collaborative, interdisciplinary projects combining empirical and theoretical components.

To obtain complete CV in PDF format click here.

Current grants and advisory roles

Projects involving deliberative public engagement

·       GoodAnimal: Animal Welfare for Sustainable Futures (Norway). PI: H Bjorkhaug. Research Council of Norway.

·       Improving Methods for Conducting Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (USA). Use of Public Deliberation in Diverse Communities to Improve Consent Processes for Clinical Research. PIs: AS Knopf & MA Ott (University of Indiana). PCORI-PFA-2018-Cycle 2

·       Public deliberation on the use of genetic editing technologies to modify populations of wild organisms in the shared environment. PI: Michael GusmanoNational Science Foundation (USA).

·       Cancer Control Deliberative public engagement to inform cancer control decision-making in Canada. SJ Peacock, MM Burgess, MD Sherar. CIHR PHSI

·       Filling the void: Public engagement around a new model for access to research resources. C. $405,185. PI: K McGrail. Co-PIs: M Burgess, K O’DohertyS. Vercauteren.

·       One London Deliberative public engagement on use of NHs health records for care, system improvement and research. Consulting advisor and member, One London Engagement Advisory Group.

Other currently funded research projects

·       Distinct concepts of diversity and their ethical-epistemic implications for science. PI: Daniel Steel, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Insight Grant.

·       Strategies to relieve suffering at end-of-life: A longitudinal study of healthcare policy and nursing practice in Canada PIs Barb PesutS. Thorne, CIHR

·       Promoting Ethical Design and Data Integrity for Cluster Trials: Issues of Consent. PI: Anita Ho. UBC cluster project

·       Silent Genomes: Reducing health care disparities and improving diagnostic success for children with genetic diseases from Indigenous populations. PIs: L ArbourN CaronWW Wasserman. Genome Canada Large-Scale Applied Research Project Competition: Genomics and Precision Health.

Research Areas


Biotechnology and ethics

Culture and Ethics

Democracy and Ethics

Ethics of Health Policy

Genetics and Ethics

Genomics and Ethics

Health Care Ethics

Public Engagement and Ethics

Research Ethics



Refereed Publications in Journals since 2018

Burgess, MM, O’Doherty, KC (2019). Moving from understanding of consent conditions to heuristics of trust. American Journal of Bioethics 19, 5: 24-26. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15265161.2019.1587036


Mitton, C., Seixas, B.V., Peacock, S. M. M. Burgess, S. Bryan. Applied Health Economics and Health Policy (2019) 17(5): 573-576. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40258-019-00488-1


Pesut, B, M Greig, S Thorne, J Storch, M Burgess, C Tishelman, K Chambaere, R J R Janke (2019). Nursing and Euthanasia: A Narrative Review of the Nursing Ethics Literature. Nursing Ethics. In press.


O’Doherty, K C, MM Burgess (2019). Developing psychologically compelling understanding of the involvement of humans in research. Human Arenas special issue, “Theorizing relational research ethics from within – and for – practice”. 2 (6) 1-18. DOI: 10.1007/s42087-019-00066-w 


Colene Bentley, Stuart J Peacock, Julia Abelson, Michael M. Burgess, Olivier Demers-Payette; Holly Longstaff; Laura Tripp; John N. Lavis; Michael G. Wilson (2019). Addressing the affordability of cancer drugs: using deliberative public engagement to inform health policy. Health Research Policy and Systems. In press.


J. Teng, C. Bentley, M.M. Burgess, K.C. O’Doherty, K.M. McGrail (2019). Sharing linked data sets for research: results from a deliberative public engagement event in British Columbia, Canada. International Journal of Population Data Science 4(1): 13-25. https://ijpds.org/article/view/1103/2025


Aitken, Mhairi, MP Tully, C Porteous, S Denegri, S Cunningham-Burley, N Banner, C Black, MM Burgess, et al (31 authors). (2019). Consensus Statement on Public Involvement and Engagement with Data-Intensive Health Research. International Journal of Population Data Science 4(1), 1-6. https://ijpds.org/article/view/586/1032


Steel, Daniel, Sina Fazelpour, Kinley Gillette, Bianca Crewe, Michael M Burgess. Multiple Diversity Concepts and their Ethical-Epistemic Implications. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (2018), 8(3), 761-780.



Bentley, C., S. Costa, M. M. Burgess, D. Regier, H. McTaggart-Cowan, S. J. Peacock. Trade-offs, fairness, and funding for cancer drugs: key findings from a public deliberation event in British Columbia, Canada. BMC Health Services Research (2018), 18(1), 339. 



Michael Burgess, John Mumford, James Lavery. Public engagement pathways for emerging biotechnologies. BMC Proceedings (2018), 12(Suppl 8):12: 29-36.