TPR 2021: Thinking through regulatory models and mechanisms to manage emerging neurotechnologies

Abstract illustration of human brain, face and radiating waves by geralt at

Event details

PhD Seminar

Date & time

Thursday 11 November 2021


Online Via zoom
ANU Canberra


Walter Johnson

Emerging neurotechnologies are a suite of innovations which can interact with the brain, spine, or peripheral nerves in various ways. While potentially offering new routes to treat health problems, neurotechnologies also raise difficult policy challenges around areas such as data protection, dual use, and equity. Many national bodies have been slow to consider these issues, but greater regulatory activity has already begun at the global or transnational level in institutions such as the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Using a qualitative research design and process tracing methods, this project will seek to describe and explain how the global governance landscape for emerging neurotechnologies has arisen. Archival research, interviews with stakeholders, and participant observation will be combined to investigate how regulatory structures are emerging and how values and narratives are embedded in this emergent process. Guided by the regulatory and global governance, international political economic, and science and technology studies literatures, the project will also evaluate the current governance landscape and develop policy recommendations. In doing so, the research will contribute insights on how global regulation can emerge around novel technological sectors.

This is session one of RegNet’s annual Thesis Proposal Review (TPR) Day, at which RegNet PhD scholars present their thesis proposals to their supervisors, peers and other RegNet scholars.

The session will commence at 10:00am with opening remarks, with the presentation to follow shortly after.

About the Speaker

Walter Johnson joined RegNet in 2021 to investigate how regulatory systems are shaping, and being shaped by, emerging neurotechnologies. Walter’s research examines the ethical, social, and legal dimensions of a variety of current and emerging technologies with the overarching goal of promoting health, safety, and equity. His work has covered topics from heritable human genome editing to quantum computing.

Before commencing PhD studies at RegNet, Walter was a research fellow for Associate Dean Diana Bowman at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, where he conducted research on governance for mitochondrial donation and smart cities. He holds a Juris Doctor (JD), Master’s in science policy, and a Bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Arizona State University.

This event is online only via Zoom. It is open only to RegNet academics, staff, students and visitors.

Image credit: Abstract illustration of human brain, face and radiating waves by geralt on pixabay.

Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet