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Kelly Bannister, BSc, MSc, PhD

Co-Director and Senior Research Associate
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Dr Kelly Bannister is Co-Director of the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance and has been a Research Associate since 2000. She applies her background in Ethnobiology to policy development, research and collaborative education on biocultural diversity, in collaboration with a number of non-profit, Indigenous and community organizations. Her focus is on ethical and legal issues in research involving biodiversity and Indigenous cultural knowledge and she has extensive experience in ethics policy analysis and development. Her work explores local to international governance mechanisms (e.g., codes of ethics, ethical guidelines, research agreements, community research protocols) to address power relations and facilitate equitable research practices. Her ultimate goal is the evolution of new institutional frameworks (i.e., principles, policies, practices) and practical tools that support collaborative and equitable research between universities, rural communities and Indigenous peoples.

In 2001, Kelly developed the Community-University Connections initiative at POLIS and facilitated a pilot project in the Clayoquot Sound region to help foster respectful and mutually beneficial collaborative research approaches between academic researchers, community groups and First Nations. She has collaborated with the office of the Vice President, Research,  the office of Director, Cooperative Education and the Human Research Ethics Board on campus-wide initiatives to support and enhance community-based research and learning opportunities, and establish good ethical practices.

Kelly is a former Adjunct Professor in the School of Environmental Studies (Faculty of Social Sciences) where she designed and taught courses on biocultural diversity and collaborative research. She is also a former Adjunct Associate Professor in Studies in Policy and Practice (Faculty of Human and Social Development).

Kelly was a steering committee member of the Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage project from 2008-2016. The project was based at SFU and had seven years of funding under the MCRI program of SSHRC. As part of the IPinCH project, Kelly conceived, co-organized and chaired an innovative national policy forum in Feb 2015 called the Working Better Together Conference on Indigenous Research Ethics.

Kelly is an active Board member and co-chair of the Ethics Program for the International Society of Ethnobiology (ISE). She facilitated the completion of the ISE Code of Ethics in 2006 and is developing an online ethics toolkit to promote the values, principles, and practices upon which the Code of Ethics is based.

Kelly's current interests are focused on developing a new field of research and practice called embodied biocultural ethics, which is an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural endeavor to breathe new life into applied research ethics.

Page last updated: 12/15/2016