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Dr Alison McLennan

Assistant Professor
School of Law& Justice
Highest Qualification – PhD
HDR Completions: N/A

Contact Details 
Phone No.: +61 (0) 2 6201 5773


Alison McLennan joined the Faculty of Business, Government and Law in 2016 as an Assistant Professor. She completed her PhD on the regulation of synthetic biology, an emerging biotechnology, at the Australian National University. Alison has also worked in legal policy in the Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department and as a Judge's Tipstaff in the NSW Land and Environment Court. She researches intellectual property and the regulation of emerging technologies. Alison currently teaches Advanced Legal Research and Writing. She is available for Honours and postgraduate research supervision.

Alison's main research interest is in the emerging field of ‘regulation and technology’, taking a socio-legal approach. She is interested in how we can not only manage the risks, but also maximise the potential benefits of new technologies. In particular, she is interested in intellectual property issues relating to new technologies. She is interested in the ethical, legal and social issues that arise from health and medical research. Alison is also interested in communities of scientists, their community norms and their self-regulation, as well as the involvement of scientists in the process of policy discussion and regulatory development. She wishes to take a contextual approach by looking into how different legal mechanisms are likely to affect the relevant scientists and eventual end-users such as patients.

Her PhD research focused on the regulation of an emerging technology, synthetic biology. The debate surrounding synthetic biology has tended to focus on scientific, sociological and political questions. Legal discussion has tended to consider the individual regulatory issues in isolation. Alison has taken a broader approach, exploring the extent to which the regulatory challenges posed by synthetic biology are distinctive, in order to consider whether synthetic biology can be regulated within existing regulatory structures or whether new mechanisms are needed. She considered diverse areas of law to identify the key regulatory changes needed.

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Alison is available for a HDR supervision consultation to prospective students.

Areas of Research Interest

  • Intellectual property
  • Regulation of emerging technologies
  • Health law and bioethics
  • Biosecurity law
  • Sociolegal studies

Research Theories / Models of Interest

  • Sociolegal research
  • Regulatory theory
  • Commons and anticommons theories
  • Sociology and history of science, biopolitics

Research Methods of Interest

  • Sociolegal research
  • Law reform research
  • Empirical research
  • Analysis of patent granting practices