Institute for Biomedicine
Dr Ciara Staunton is a legal academic and a member of the ELSI group at the Institute for Biomedicine. Her research focuses on the governance of new and emerging technologies, in particular stem cell research, genomic research, and biobanking. Her most recent research looks at the use of health data in research, and in particular, the legal and ethical issues associated with the sharing of that data in research.
Ciara’s research has resulted in her involvement in the development of national and international policy. In 2021 she led the development of the Framework for the Governance of Personal Data for the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, and previously was involved in the development of the H3Africa Ethics and Governance Framework for Best Practice in Genomic Research and Biobanking in Africa. She has also advised the Kingdom of Bahrain on its development of stem cell research regulations, presented evidence to the Irish Government on its development of abortion legislation, and since 2019 has been advising the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases on issues related to its use of health data.
Ciara has been a member of many ethics committees and is currently a member of the ELSI committee of the European Reference Genome Archive (ERGA).
Ciara graduated with a Bachelor in Civil Law (BCL) in 2007 and with a LLM in Public Law (first class honours) in 2007 from the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG). From 2008-2010 she was a legal researcher at the Law Reform Commission of Ireland where she was the lead legal researcher for the Consultation Paper and Report on Advance Care Directives and the Report The Legal Aspects of Home Care. In 2010 she commenced her PhD thesis on The Regulation of Embryonic Stem Cell Research in Ireland, funded by the Irish Research Council. During her PhD research she was appointed Chief Legal Officer of the Irish Stem Cell Foundation and was an intern at the Department of Ethics at the World Health Organisation in Geneva. She was also awarded numerous travel awards, including the Phyllis and Albert Sussman Subsidy to attend the Hastings Centre as a visiting scholar, 2011, and the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) Travel Award, 2012.
From 2013-2016 she was a post-doctorate researcher at the Centre for Medical Ethics and Law, Stellenbosch University, South Africa. During that time, she was a co-investigator on the NIH H3Africa project Community Engagement for H3Africa Biobanking Research: The Tygerberg Model and was an active member of the H3Africa Ethics and Regulatory Issues Working Group. She also taught and co-ordinateed the Fogarty funded Advancing Research Ethics in Southern Africa (ARESA) programme and was involved in the NIH funded project The intended and unintended social and ethical consequences of HIV cure research, in collaboration with the University of North Carolina.
In 2016 she was appointed Lecturer in Law at Middlesex University (London) and promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2018. In 2018 she was awarded a Wellcome Trust grant (Principal Investigator) The governance of data sharing for genomic and other health-related data in Africa and a visiting researcher at the Centre for Applied Ethics, Stellenbosch University (South Africa) and KEMRI-Wellcome Trust (Kenya). In 2019 she was appointed consultant to the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases in 2019 and accepted as a fellow on the Brocher Foundation Visiting Residency Program for 2020.