Integrating ELSA into CCBIO
CCBIO’s ELSA team is a dedicated research group on the ethical, legal and social aspects of cancer biomarkers. The group’s model is that of “integrated ELSA”, namely to build ELSA awareness and capacity throughout the CCBIO by interaction both in the scientific venues and the governance bodies of the center, including a dedicated PhD course.
Roger Strand is a trained natural scientist (cand. scient. (biochemistry, 1992) and dr. scient., (biochemistry, 1998), both degrees from the University of Bergen, Norway). Ever since his dissertational work, which combined biochemistry with philosophy of biochemistry, he has worked on issues of methodological underdetermination in science, scientific uncertainty and complexity. This has gradually led his research into broader strands of philosophy, ethics and social research and broader issues of policy, decision-making and governance at the science-society interface.
Strand’s group performs research on the ethical, legal and societal aspects (ELSA) of CCBIO’s research, distinguishing between two interrelated goals:
1. A better understanding of the developments, expectations, and imaginaries of personalized/precision cancer medicine, including its political economy and ethical and social issues.
2. A better integration of this understanding into practices of “responsible cancer research” in the sense of RRI (Responsible Research and Innovation).
CCBIO’s ELSA group is a smallscale operation that can be seen as one project. They interact and are tightly linked, however, to similar RRI projects (NFR Res Publica and AFINO, and Horizon 2020 SuperMoRRI and TRANSFORM) which are also in their final phase (Res Publica and TRANSFORM being completed in 2022). They are furthermore performing a joint program on the opportunities and challenges of precision cancer medicine with a team of CCBIO ethicists, economists, and biomedical researchers. A particular focus in 2022 was the further development of the interdisciplinary research with Bjørge’s group, and specifically Karen Gissum’s PhD project that integrates dimensions from ELSA and hermeneutical health research into clinical research on ovarian cancer.
Strand’s group builds insights and intellectual understanding (for peers) and ELSA/RRI awareness, within the consortium and its partners and audiences. The highlight in 2022 was the publication of an interdisciplinary research anthology “Precision Oncology and Cancer Biomarkers: Issues at Stake and Matters of Concern”, edited by Anne Blanchard and Roger Strand and with 17 contributors from the CCBIO ELSA network. The key focus of the publication is the interdisciplinary analysis of the sociotechnical imaginaries of personalized and precision cancer medicine. By January 2023, the open access e-book version had registered >18k downloads.
CCBIO is progressing through its second 5-year period. The group’s challenge is to create a level of ELSA and RRI awareness in CCBIO as such, and to have made a difference on how cancer biomarker research is and will be performed at the University of Bergen. CCBIO can in many ways be seen as “best practice” for RRI. It is important for the Strand group to translate their work in CCBIO into contributions to the wider field of RRI and governance of science. It is also important for them to take part in the overall endeavor for CCBIO to summarize, analyze and synthesize the accumulated scientific progress that CCBIO has led to over its 10 years of existence.
See Strand's publication list.