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Conor Douglas

Conor Douglas

Picture of Conor Douglas
Conor Douglas
Associate Professor


Science, Technology and Society


Office Location Bethune 307
Phone Number 416-736-2100 ext 30104


PhD, Sociology (of Science and Technology) University of York (UK); MSc, Science and Technology Studies (cum laude), University of Amsterdam; BA Sociology (Hons.) and Political Science (Maj.), University of Victoria.


My research explores the co-production between science/technology (particularly new genetic medical technologies) and society; patient and public participation in science and technological development (particularly in clinical trials, research studies, and pharmaceutical policy); governance of science and technology (particularly new genetic medical technologies); social and cultural factors constraining or enabling the translation –or development and deployment- of science and technologies; as well as global health & governance (particularly as it relates to new medical technologies).

These research interests are currently being deployed in my core work Social Pharmaceutical Innovation (For Unmet Medical Needs), or “SPIN.”, which I am the named Project Leader and Canadian national team Principal Investigator. This internationally collaborative project funded through the Trans-Atlantic Partnership and includes a team of researchers including Larry Lynd from British Columbia, Fernando Aith from Brazil, Vololona Rabeharisoa from France and Ellen Moors from the Netherlands.

About Me

I approach Science, Technology and Society (STS) in a multi and interdisciplinary way, and all of my research has been collaborative with international and Canadian colleagues across diverse faculties and departments, policy-makers, as well as patients and patient representatives. My methodological approach to research is a qualitative one, which involves: one-on-one interviews, group interviews, focus groups; participant observation; ethnographic research; and scenario studies. I also sit on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Responsible Innovation.

After completing my PhD at the University of York (in the Science and Technology Studies Unit within the Department of Sociology) I undertook interdisciplinary post-doctoral research at the University of British Columbia (Centre for Applied Ethics), VU University Medical Centre Amsterdam, and again at the University of British Columbia ( Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences). Following that I received a limited-term Senior Lectureship in the Department of Technology and Society Studies at Maastricht University in the Netherlands.


Course taught include: STS6100 "Biomedicine and the late 20th / early 21st Century" (STS Grad Program), NATS1760 Science, Technology and Society, and previously STS3600 “Technological Failure”; STS3780 “Biomedical Science in Sociohistorical Context”; and STS3790 “Science and Technology Issues in Global Development”.

I have teaching qualifications and certification from the Netherlands, Canada, and the UK, which also includes experience and expertise in innovative pedagogy of Problem-Based Learning (PBL).

I am open to taking on undergraduate honors thesis students, MA graduate students and PhD students so long as our interests align.

Selected Publications

Douglas, C. M., & Grunebaum, S. (2024). Lessons learned from the Canadian Fabry Disease Initiative for future risk-sharing and managed access agreements for pharmaceutical and advanced therapies in Canada. Health Policy, 143, 105044.

Douglas, C. M. (2023). International experiences and made-in-Canada "social pharmaceutical innovations" as responses to challenges facing drugs for rare diseases. Healthcarepapers, 21(1), 66-72.

Douglas, C. M., Aith, F., Boon, W., de Neiva Borba, M., Doganova, L., Grunebaum, S., ... & Kleinhout-Vliek, T. (2022). Social pharmaceutical innovation and alternative forms of research, development and deployment for drugs for rare diseases. Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases, 17(1), 344.

Douglas, C. M., Panagiotoglou, D., Dragojlovic, N., & Lynd, L. (2021). Methodology for constructing scenarios for health policy research: The case of coverage decision-making for drugs for rare diseases in Canada. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 171, 120960.

Jansen, M. E., Van Den Bosch, L. J., Hendriks, M. J., Scheffer, M. M., Heijnen, M. L., Douglas, C. M., & Van El, C. G. (2019). Parental perspectives on retention and secondary use of neonatal dried bloodspots: a Dutch mixed methods study. BMC pediatrics, 19(1), 230.

Rizzardo, S., Bansback, N., Dragojlovic, N., Douglas, C., Li, K. H., Mitton, C., ... & Lynd, L. D. (2019). Evaluating Canadians’ values for drug coverage decision making. Value in Health, 22(3), 362-369.

Stephens, N. Brown, N. and Douglas, C.M.W. (2018) Biobanks as sites of Bio-objectification. Life Sciences, Society and Policy. 14:6.

Douglas, C.M.W. Wilcox, E. Burgess, M. and Lynd, L. (2015) Why orphan drug coverage reimbursement decision-making needs patient and public involvement. Health Policy, 119 (5), 588-596.

Douglas, C.M.W. and Scheltens, P. (2015) Rethinking the products of translational medicine in the Netherlands: How the research process stands to matter for patient care. European Journal of Human Genetics, 23(6), 736-8.

Boeckhout M. and Douglas, C.M.W. (6 August 2015) Governing the research-care divide in clinical biobanking: Dutch perspectives. Life Sciences, Society and Policy, 11:7. doi:10.1186/s40504-015-0025-z

van Teeffelen, S. R., Douglas, C. M., van El, C. G., Weinreich, S. S., Henneman, L., Radstake, M., & Cornel, M. C. (2015) Mothers' Views on Longer Storage of Neonatal Dried Blood Spots for Specific Secondary Uses. Public Health Genomics, 19(1), 25-33.

Douglas, C.M.W. Lander, B. Fairley, C and Atkinson-Grosjean, J. (2015) The role of user/producer hybrids in the production of translational science. Social Epistemology, 29 (3), 323–343.

Douglas, C.M.W. (2014) The role of bioinformatics in facilitating translational science and medicine. Tecnoscienza: Italian Journal Science & Technology Studies, 5 (1), 141-163. ISSN 2038-3460

Douglas, C.M.W. and Stemerding, D. (2014) Challenges for the European governance of synthetic biology. Life Sciences, Society and Policy, 10:6.

Douglas, C.M.W. (2014) Book review of Courtney Davies and John Abraham’s “Unhealthy Pharmaceutical Regulation” Basingstoke, England: Palgrave Macmillan 2013. 336 pages. Sociology of Health and Illness, 36(7), 1120–1122.

Douglas, C.M.W. and Stemerding, D. (2013) Special issue editorial: Synthetic biology, global health, and global governance. Systems and Synthetic Biology, 7(3), 63-66.

Douglas, C.M.W. and Stemerding, D. (2013) Governing synthetic biology for global health through responsible research and innovation. Systems and Synthetic Biology, 7(3), 139-150.

Douglas, C.M.W. van El, C. Radstake, M et al. (2012) The politics of representation in the governance of emergent ‘secondary use’ biobanks: The case of dried blood spot cards in the Netherlands. Studies in Ethics Law &Technology, 6(1), Article 4.

Douglas, C.M.W. van El, C. Faulkner, A. and Cornel, M. (2012) Governing biological material at the intersection of care and research: the use of dried blood spots for biobanking. Croatian Medical Journal, 53,390-7.

Douglas, C.M.W. (2012) Bio-objectification of clinical research patients: Impacts on the stabilization of new medical technologies. In Niki Vermeulen, Sakari Tamminen, and Andrew Webster (eds.) Bio-objects: Life in the 21st century. Aldershot, England: Ashgate Publishing.

Douglas, C.M.W. (2012) Book review of Alex Faulkner’s “Medical Technology into Healthcare and Society: A Sociology of Devices, Innovation and Governance” Basingstoke, England: Palgrave MacMillan 2009. 264 pages. Science Studies, 25(1), 76-78.

Douglas, C. Goulding, R. Ferris, L. and Atkinson-Grosjean, J (2011) Socio-cultural characteristics of usability of bioinformatics databases and tools. Interdisciplinary Sciences Review, 36(1), 55-71.

Atkinson-Grosjean, J. and Douglas, C. (2010) “The ‘Third Mission’ and the laboratory: How translational science engages and serves the community,” in Hans Schuetze and Patricia Inman (eds.) Community Engagement and Service Mission of Universities. Leicester, England: NIACE Publications.

Webster, A. Douglas, C. and Lewis, G. (2009) Making sense of medicine: ‘Lay pharmacology’, narratives of safety and efficacy. Science as Culture, 18(2), 233-47.

Webster, A. Douglas, C.M.W. and Sato, H. (2009) “Emergence of asbestos-related health issues and development of regulatory policy in the UK” in Hajime Sato (ed.) Management of Health Risks from Environment and Food: Policy and Politics of Health Risk Management in Five Countries -- Asbestos and BSE (pp.63-100). The Netherlands: Springer.

Webster, A. Douglas, C.M.W. and Sato, H. (2009) “BSE in the United Kingdom,” in Hajime Sato (ed.) Management of Health Risks from Environment and Food: Policy and Politics of Health Risk Management in Five Countries -- Asbestos and BSE (pp.221-265). The Netherlands: Springer.

Webster, A. Brown, N. Douglas, C. et al. (2008) “Public attitudes to third party access and benefit sharing: their application to UK Biobank,” Report to UK Biobank Ethics and Governance Council.

Douglas, C. (2007) “Scientific literacy and public understandings of science”. George Ritzer (ed). Encyclopaedia of Sociology. Blackwell Publishing.

Douglas, C.M.W. (2005) Managing HuGE Expectations: Rhetorical Strategies in Human Genome Epidemiology. Science Studies, 18(2), 26-45.


Science and Technology Governance; Pharmaceutical Policy; Patient and Public Participation in Health Sciences and Medical Innovations; Responsible Research and Innovation

Research Areas

Science, Technology and Society

UN Goals

Good Health and Well-being, Industry Innovation and Infrastructure, Quality Education, Responsible Consumption and Production