Dr. Andrew Peterson receives prestigious Greenwall Foundation Faculty Scholars award

Dr. Andrew Peterson receives prestigious Greenwall Foundation Faculty Scholars award

The Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy (IPPP) and the Department of Philosophy are pleased to announce that Dr. Andrew Peterson (Assistant Professor, Philosophy and IPPP) has been awarded a major career-development grant from the Greenwall Foundation. In Fall 2018, Dr. Peterson will become a Greenwall Faculty Scholar. These highly competitive awards are designed to enable junior faculty in law, medicine, social science, or philosophy to carry out innovative bioethics research over a three-year period. Only a very few such awards are made each year nationally.

The Greenwall Foundation was established in 1949 by philanthropist Frank K. Greenwall. In 1991, the foundation adopted the mission of funding multidisciplinary bioethics research, and it has since become the world leader in cultivating innovative bioethics research programs.

The foundation’s premier program, the Greenwall Faculty Scholars award, aims to promote “research that goes beyond current work in bioethics to help resolve pressing ethical issues in clinical care, biomedical research, and public policy.” Dr. Peterson’s groundbreaking work on the ethical and policy issues arising from the diagnosis of severe brain injury complements the goals of this program and the overall mission of the foundation to produce bioethics research of consequence. As Dr. Peterson explains:

“Patients with severe brain injury are often misdiagnosed. Misdiagnosis can result in suboptimal quality of care, emotional strain on patients' families, and poorly informed end-of-life decisions. fMRI and EEG methods might improve the accuracy of diagnosis as well as revolutionize our understanding of human consciousness. But the use of these methods in clinical populations also raises difficult ethical and policy issues. My project seeks to investigate these issues and to produce research that will directly benefit brain-injured patients and their families, and the clinical teams that care for them.”

The project builds from a multidisciplinary research program funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and expands Dr. Peterson’s research team to an international network of collaborators at institutions such as the NIH Department of Bioethics, the Centers for Disease Control,  the Rotman Institute of Philosophy at the University of Western Ontario, Trinity College Dublin, and Monash University. 

In addition to generating original research on our understanding of consciousness, and pathbreaking ethical and policy insights, Dr. Peterson’s research also informs his work with Mason’s students: since joining Mason in Fall 2016, he has already mentored several OSCAR-funded projects on neuroethics, and this coming Fall, he will be teaching an advanced graduate seminar on Consciousness.

“It’s quite surreal to receive this award and to be invited into a community of scholars that I’ve admired since my graduate training” Dr. Peterson explains. “But one of the most remarkable aspects of receiving the award is what it says about Mason. Greenwall Faculty Scholars are often based at elite research institutions. Receipt of the award shows that Mason is force to be reckoned with.” 

For further information about the Greenwall Faculty Scholars Program, see: