Professor Wendy Rogers
Professor Wendy Rogers

Macquarie University Research Excellence Awards spotlight

We’re profiling nominees in the lead up to the 2014 Macquarie University Research Excellence Awards on Thursday 2 October.

This week meet Professor Wendy Rogers from the Department of Philosophy, who is nominated for an Excellence in Research – Social Sciences and Humanities Award.

How long have you been a researcher at Macquarie?
Five years.

I was drawn to research because…
I enjoy thinking about complex issues with the aim of contributing solutions.

What would be an ‘elevator pitch’ of your research area?
My research is in the field of clinical ethics. I start with an ethical problem or challenge arising from health care, and, using philosophical approaches, work towards practical solutions. For example, at the moment I am leading a project on the ethics of surgical innovation, in order to improve patient safety when new surgical techniques or devices are introduced into practice. As well as drawing upon philosophical theory, my research also involves qualitative methods, such as interviewing people about aspects of health care.

In layman’s terms, what is the wider impact of your research?
The wider impact of my research is to support ethical practice in health care. This means clearer thinking about such things as the potential harms and benefits of new treatments, the effects of conflicts of interest on medical practice, or how organ donation can proceed in ethical ways. My work is valuable for policy makers as well as practitioners. For example, some of my research has been used in protocols about organ donation, and in national human research ethics guidelines.

Who is/was your biggest research mentor?
I’ve had various mentors. One that stands out is Susan Sherwin at Dalhousie who gave early encouragement. I’ve also learned a lot from research colleagues such as Catriona Mackenzie from Macquarie, and Susan Dodds from the University of Tasmania.

If I were given $1Million in research funding, the first thing I would do is…
I would do is set up a program of post-doctoral fellowships for early to mid-career researchers, building on some of my current research areas.

In 10 years I see my research…
I see my research developing into further collaborations with other researchers at Macquarie and with external partners.

My favourite and/or most proud research moment was…
This was when I was awarded a National Health and Medical Research Council Sidney Sax postdoctoral fellowship. This was the first time that an ethics project had been funded by one of these fellowships, and receiving it was a critical step in becoming a researcher.

Learn more about Professor Rogers and her successful ARC grant last year.