Investigator Awards in Humanities and Social Science: people we've funded

This list includes current and past grantholders.


Dr Susan Grant

Liverpool John Moores University

Growing old in the Soviet Union, 1945-1991

The role of older people in the Soviet Union – the world’s first socialist state – has been largely overlooked. This project will provide historians and gerontologists with access to a rich body of work that sheds light on experiences of ageing in the Soviet Union.

My research will focus on: state policies and attitudes to providing healthcare for older adults; individual and collective experiences of ageing; and the influence of gerontology on domestic and international politics. Older adults and ageing was an integral part of the post-war narrative of Soviet history, and my research into this period will make a distinctive contribution to current debates about ageing societies.

The project will change how historians consider the role of older adults in the Soviet Union after the Second World War under socialism. Knowing what it was like to grow old in the Soviet Union will also inform debates about ageing and gerontology and political developments in international relations, healthcare, science and welfare.

Dr Patricia Kingori

University of Oxford

Fakes, fabrications and falsehoods? Interrogating the social, ethical and political features of pseudo-global health

A phenomenon is emerging in global health: a blurring between the real and the fake. In different geographical locations, the same object can be simultaneously regarded as both real (certified and authentic) and fake (uncertified and inauthentic). I will use everyday examples to show how this paradox is possible.

I will investigate two key goals in global health: the production of knowledge; and access to drugs and medicines. Illustrative case studies from areas simultaneously considered real and fake will be explored as examples of ‘pseudo-global health’. I will focus on global health at different scales – global online networks as well as frontline experiences, and different contexts such as the global north and south.

This research seeks to directly engage in the areas of ambiguity in global health to further understand how uncertainty and moral paradoxes are reconciled in practice.


Professor Joanna Bourke

Birkbeck, University of London

Sexual violence, medicine and psychiatry

Medical professionals play a central role in examining, treating and counselling victims of sexual violence. They can also determine whether or not the police take the assault seriously and whether legal proceedings should be instigated. Physicians also play significant roles in determining whether an accused person is subsequently convicted, punished or treated. 

This research focuses on the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand from the first decade of the 19th century to the present. It will investigate the role of medicine and psychiatry in understanding, interpreting, treating, prosecuting and preventing sexual violence. There will be four research streams: medicine and law; GPs, police surgeons and forensic medical examiners; clinical texts from Psychopathia Sexualis to the DSM/ICD; and psychiatric aftermaths. There will also be a focus on child sexual abuse. 

The project will be a powerful example of how historical scholarship can inform contemporary crises and debates.

Professor Joanna Coast

University of Bristol

A life-course approach to measuring capability for economic evaluation of health and social care interventions

Health services face increasingly difficult decisions about which interventions to provide from available resources. These economic decisions currently concentrate on maximising health gain, but an important alternative is to focus on generating capability wellbeing. There are generic capability measures for assessing the effect of health interventions for adults, older people and those at end of life, but not for younger people. Extending capability measurement to children requires changes in thinking to a life-course approach that accepts differing values at different stages of life and to a focus on current wellbeing and future ‘well-becoming’, considering child measures in the context of development to adulthood. 

This research addresses these issues in a UK setting. It will generate, value and validate new measures of capability wellbeing for children, explore evidence on values during the life course and generate an integrated framework for measuring capability wellbeing/well-becoming and also explore end of life assessment in children.

Professor Tim Doran

University of York

Re-engineering health policy research for fairer decisions and better health   

Health inequalities diminish lives and blight communities. Although the determinants of health inequality are well known, policy makers have repeatedly failed to address the issue effectively, and many public health interventions unwittingly worsen inequalities because they disproportionately benefit those with greater resources. The analytical tools used to inform policy lack a substantial perspective on equity, focusing on averages rather than social distributions, leading to inequitable solutions.

We propose to re-engineer health policy research. We will develop rigorous methods for measuring the impact on equity of health and social policy interventions, and apply these methods to assess the effectiveness of major public health and healthcare initiatives. In doing so, we will improve our understanding of the barriers to delivering equitable health outcomes.

Our programme will provide policy makers with vital information on who gains and who loses from their decisions. Our ultimate aim is to enable fairer health policy decisions, leading to better health across society.

Dr Claire Moon

London School of Economics and Political Science

Human rights, human remains: forensic humanitarianism and the politics of the grave    

This project explores the ‘forensic turn’ in humanitarianism and the effort to establish the identities and causes of death of the mass victims of atrocities such as enforced disappearance, torture, genocide and war crimes. It has flourished in countries such as Argentina, Guatemala, Mexico, Rwanda, South Africa, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Spain and Libya. 

Exhumations and forensic identification carry enormous social force. They represent a powerful way of establishing the truth. Yet forensic identification is a social act and interacts with legal, political and humanitarian imperatives which include accountability, combatting political and cultural denial, and returning the dead to families to assist psychological closure. 

This project examines the emergence, social complications and implications of forensic investigations of atrocity. It provides the first global history of the forensic turn in humanitarianism, investigates challenges and innovations in the field by analysing a case in Mexico, and explores the hypothesis that as a result of the forensic turn we can now argue that the dead have human rights. 

Professor Barbara Taylor

Queen Mary University of London

Pathologies of solitude, 18th–21st century

Loneliness can cause serious health concerns. This is generally regarded as a recent development but solitariness has long been perceived as a medical risk, especially for mental health. Our current concerns about social isolation and loneliness are framed by this largely neglected history.

This project aims to remedy the neglect of this subject by undertaking the first health-related history of Western solitude. Its leading premise is that the development of modern society has involved changes in perceptions of solitude, with a tendency to pathologise and medicalise it. I will document and analyse this process by looking at Britain in the 18th century, when modern medical perceptions of solitude first took shape, and comparing developments in this period with those in subsequent centuries. An interdisciplinary research network has been assembled that will bring these historical findings into a dialogue with scientific research about contemporary experiences of solitude.

This project will engage with campaigns devoted to alleviating loneliness, while an ambitious outreach programme will take its findings to the general public.

Dr Tracey Loughran

University of Essex

Body, self and family: women’s psychological, emotional and bodily health in Britain c1960–1990

We still know little about the everyday health experiences of women in the post-war period, when the pattern of their lives changed beyond recognition.

This project examines how wider social changes affected women’s experiences of self, body and emotion. It will explore women’s experiences at different stages of the life cycle, emphasising the interplay of body, mind and emotion, how women negotiated with authority, and how new reproductive and contraceptive technologies affected their experiences of ‘embodied time’. We will conduct 50 interviews and consult under-used oral history collections, mass-market and feminist publications, and archival material on feminist, gay, and Black activism. We will use this material to address theoretical questions on the relationship between representation and experience in historical research and develop methodologies to explore these gaps.

The project will result in peer-reviewed publications, conference papers, events for academic audiences, a programme of public engagement activities with schools and community groups, and work with St Fagans National History Museum in Cardiff culminating in an exhibition. This project will revolutionise historical understanding of women’s experiences of health, reproduction, and medical technologies and practices, and will generate new approaches to researching female subjectivity and bodily experience.

Dr John Holmes

University of Sheffield

Why is youth alcohol consumption falling? A mixed methods investigation of changing drinking cultures across recent generations

Alcohol consumption has fallen sharply among young people in the UK, leading some newspapers to label this generation ‘the new puritans’. Despite comparable trends being reported in Europe, North America and Australia, we know little about why this is happening, which young people are drinking less, whether youth drinking is concentrated in particular high-risk groups and whether new inequalities are emerging. We also do not know how these changes relate to wider youth culture and what the implications are for public policy.

We will investigate the ways young people’s drinking habits have changed over recent decades and whether these changes have varied across the population. We will also ask whether changes in alcohol’s position in broader youth culture can help to explain the fall in drinking. We will focus on 11-24-year-olds in England, using trend analyses and unique survey data to examine the changing characteristics of youth drinking and the shifting relationships between youth health and leisure activities. Qualitative interviews with four age-defined cohorts will further investigate changes and continuities in youth drinking practices, and their connections to other activities.

The results of this study will contribute novel insights into how positive trends in youth drinking can be reinforced and the re-emergence of negative trends can be curtailed.


Dr Felicity Boardman

University of Warwick

Pre-conception genetic screening for autosomal recessive conditions of uncertain or highly variable prognosis: social and ethical implications

NHS-funded genetic testing is usually reserved for families with genetic disease. Pre-conception genetic screening (PCGS) will extend this testing to the general public. By providing carrier status information before conception, PCGS will render particular genetic diseases avoidable. 

This study aims to identify the key social and ethical implications of PCGS by focusing on the change in reprogenetic decision-makers – from affected families to the general public – and exploring the relative importance of experiential and medical knowledge in shaping these decisions. 

Dr Emilie Cloatre

University of Kent

Law, knowledges and the making of ‘modern healthcare’: regulating traditional and alternative medicines in contemporary contexts

This project is a socio-legal exploration of the regulation of traditional and alternative medicines in Europe and Africa - two regions where policy conversations on the topic are particularly intense and varied.

The project's key goals are to: critically assess the effects of contrasting regulatory frameworks; consider how regulation can address the challenges raised by traditional and alternative medicines in a fair, effective and sustainable manner; create dialogues across academia and policy on relevant experiences, strategies and ways forward. The project will focus on case studies in: Western Europe (France and England), West Africa (Ghana and Senegal), and the Western Indian Ocean (Mauritius and Reunion).

Dr Stephani Hatch

King's College London

Discrimination in health services: developing strategies to address a tractable social determinant of health inequalities

Discrimination is one of the strongest predictors of poor patient satisfaction, quality of care and staff experience; yet few studies have explicitly examined discrimination as a driver of inequalities and barriers to health service use. 

While most people are naturally inclined to put others into social categories, for some this results in unconscious but demonstrable biases that are shown through discrimination. Experiences of discrimination are sources of stress, which can affect people’s physical and mental health. Discrimination increases mistrust, which can lead people to discontinue their use of health services and engage with the service in future. This ultimately impacts on treatment outcomes. 

This study will investigate unaddressed questions about the role of discrimination by healthcare providers, ie doctors and nurses, in generating and perpetuating inequalities.

Professor Jim McCambridge

University of York

The alcohol industry, public health sciences and policy

Jim’s project aims to explore the role that the alcohol industry plays in influencing research, science and policy, both in the UK and globally.

The project team will develop a new platform to capture publicly available data and undertake a series of systematic reviews. Ultimately, this work aims to advance research on vested interests, science and policy and inform national and international alcohol policies.

Professor James Mills

University of Strathclyde

The Asian cocaine crisis: pharmaceuticals, consumers and control in South and East Asia, 1900–1945

Between 1900 and 1945 Asia became one of the world's largest markets for cocaine - both as a medicinal substance and as a recreational intoxicant. In 1900, officials imposed controls on sales and grappled with the trade of the substance for the next five decades.

The project aims to: explain the growth of the market in the region; shine a light on the government’s response; trace sources of supply and distribution; identify the origins of ideas about cocaine in Asia. The project will provide radical new perspectives on the production, consumption and control of medicines and intoxicants in the modern world.

Professor Diana Rose

King's College London        

User-led research in mental health: history, impact and current configurations

For the first time, this project will bring together the historical and contemporary strands that make up the field of user-led research in mental health. 

User-led research destabilises the traditional knowledge base of mental health discourse and practice, through which experts have been seen as the custodians of evidence and knowledge. This project will trace the histories of international mental health user movements and user-led research. It will also investigate the impact of user-led research on mental health service provision, both in terms of what has been achieved and what is envisioned.

Dr Ricardo Santos


Health of indigenous peoples in Brazil: historical, sociocultural, and political perspectives

This project aims to explore how the principles of social inclusion and the right to cultural difference have contributed to the production, interpretation and reformulation of indigenous peoples’ health policy in post-dictatorship Brazil. 

The project will focus on how indigenous social activism has shaped national health policies, and how indigenous peoples’ health and demography are represented through national information systems and politically interpreted within indigenous social movements. It will also explore how indigenous communities have experienced local manifestations of national policies aimed at reducing wealth disparities and increasing food security. 

Professor Evelyn Welch

King’s College London

Renaissance skin

Evelyn’s project is exploring the changing notions of human and animal skin in Europe between 1450 and 1700.

It includes: the ways in which these skins were connected, differentiated and displayed both morally and physically; concepts of colour and complexion; and the relationship between diseases which disfigure, skin care, cosmetics and clothing. The team will explore this area by examining textual, material and visual evidence.


Dr Michael Brown

University of Roehampton

A theatre of emotions: the affective landscape of nineteenth-century British surgery

Historians have generally emphasised the importance of emotional detachment and affective restraint in surgical practice. However, this project suggests that the affective repertoire of the nineteenth-century operating theatre was more complex than this, and involved a wide variety of feelings from fear and anxiety to pity and sympathy. It explores the place of emotion in both historical and contemporary surgery through a range of historical and literary sources and methodologies, encompassing both the military and civil worlds.

Professor Kate Fisher and Dr Jana Funke

University of Exeter

The cross-disciplinary invention of sexuality: sexual science beyond the medical, 1890–1940

This project represents a fundamental rethinking of the emergence of the scientific study of human sexuality in the nineteenth century and reconsiders how modern understandings of sexuality were constructed. Professor Fisher and Dr Funke critique the hitherto dominant assumption that 'sexology' existed as a clearly understood and primarily medical field of knowledge. Instead their project presents a new account of the rise of a cross-disciplinary 'sexual science' driven by dissatisfaction with exclusively medical approaches. Additional areas of knowledge (eg anthropology, history, sociology) are beginning to be used in order to challenge existing biological explanations of sexuality, and this project sheds new light on this evolution.

Dr Martin Gorsky

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Health systems in history: ideas, comparisons, policies

The idea of a 'health system' enjoys common currency in today’s global economy. It implies a holistic conception of the organisational structures within which medicine is financed, provided and regulated in modern states. Dr Gorsky's project is finding out how this idea came to be, and how it can be applied historically. This project is also asking how the health systems approach has been deployed in international development contexts, whether as an object of policy or as a mode of policy-making. It will then be used as a category for analysis in the comparative history of high income countries.

Professor Mark Harrison

University of Oxford

Invisible crises, neglected histories: Malaria in Asia, 1900–present

Outside Africa, particularly in Asia, the incidence of severe malaria has been severely underestimated. There is also a dearth of information about the incidence and societal impact of the most common form of malaria in Asia, which is often wrongly assumed to be a benign form of infection. Due to the focus predominantly on Africa, the burden of malaria in Asia remains almost invisible to the rest of the world, but in reality it is a story of neglect and, in many cases, of resurgence. Through a collaboration involving historians, anthropologists and malaria scientists, this project seeks to redress the balance, in collaboration with national, global and regional agencies, governmental and otherwise.

Professor Adam Hedgecoe

Cardiff University

Professional decision-making around next generation clinical genetics

Over the past couple of years new genomic technologies, such as DNA microarrays and high-throughput genomic sequencing, have begun to enter clinical practice in a range of conditions. While the promise of such approaches is considerable, the challenges raised by integrating these technologies into the clinic are no less great. To a large extent, these challenges centre on professional decision-making: these technologies produce large amounts of data, some of which is clinically useful, some of which is not, but large amounts of which are uncertain. It is this uncertainty – whether or not a specific stretch of DNA is clinically relevant – and the decision-making processes that surround it that this project examines. Professor Hedgecoe uses a range of methods, including ethnographic observation and interviews with laboratory staff and clinical geneticists, to focus on the way professionals generate and interpret genomic data.

Dr Robert Kirk

University of Manchester

Managing medicine and species: biotherapy and the ecological vision of health and wellbeing

Dr Kirk's project is producing the first rigorous account of the multiple contributions that nonhuman forms of life make to human health and wellbeing in medicine and society. It explores how, why, and to what consequence nonhuman life contributes to human clinical medicine, health and wellbeing outside the biomedical laboratory. Studies within this project include: whether training animals improves human mental and physical health (animal assisted therapy), and if the use of leeches aids healing.

Dr Manuela Perrotta

Queen Mary, University of London

Remaking the human body: biomedical imaging technologies and professional visions

The development and diffusion of biomedical imaging technologies allows medical professionals to explore the human body in new ways. However, the relations between new visual tools, professional and lay visions remain underexplored. This project investigates two case studies that are highly relevant for their cultural and social implications: time-lapse photography in IVF, which allows patients to see embryo development at a very early stage; and virtual autopsy, an alternative to traditional autopsy, conducted with scanning and imaging technology. The aim of this research is to explore the role of biomedical imaging by looking at the artefacts that produce it, at how it is used in medical practice, and how it is received by patients and caregivers who are involved. This project will explore, in particular, how these images are involved in changing conceptions of the human body.

Dr Ginny Russell

University of Exeter

Exploring diagnosis: autism and the neurodiversity movement

Dr Russell's project explores the role that diagnosis plays in society and medicine, using the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder as a case study. It examines how the process of diagnostic categorisation is achieved, what the consequences of diagnosis are, and the benefits of, and objections to the diagnostic label, as well as how this label affects people’s preconceptions of the disorder and of those who are diagnosed with it. The investigation will document and analyse the experiences of adults in the neurodiversity movement, who argue against medical diagnosis, together with those who have sought a clinical diagnosis of autism.

Professor Devi Sridhar

University of Edinburgh

The economic gaze: the World Bank’s influence on global public health

The World Bank is the largest financial contributor to health related projects, and arguably the most important institution in international health cooperation. Professor Sridhar asks: what has the Bank contributed to global health over the past 40 years in terms of finance, ideas and networks, and how successful has this contribution been? Secondly, how has the Bank’s increasing involvement as an economic institution transformed how we think about and develop policies to address health? Five periods will be examined between 1946 and 2014. This project will rely heavily on primary sources from the Bank, WHO and the Rockefeller Foundation, and relevant secondary sources.

Professor Megan Vaughan

University College London

Chronic disease in sub-Saharan Africa: a critical history of an 'epidemiological transition'

According to the WHO, Africa is the latest region of the world to be on the cusp of an epidemic of chronic disease, with rising rates of mortality and morbidity from cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, chronic hepatic and renal diseases as well as cancer, mental illness and HIV/AIDS. This apparent epidemiological shift poses significant challenges for already fragile health systems in this region. Professor Vaughan’s project investigates these issues, through asking some critical questions about the definitions and measurements of ‘chronic’ and ‘non-communicable’ diseases and examining the evidence for their longer history in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as the current situation and existing 'co-morbidities'.

Dr Joanna Vearey

University of the Witwatersrand

(Un)healthy movement in Southern Africa: towards improved responses to communicable diseases

Within the Southern Africa Development Community, high rates of the population have a high prevalence of communicable diseases – notably HIV and TB. On top of this, many are victims of poverty, gender-based violence and a lack of access to services – including justice and healthcare. Dr Vearey's project explores migrant health in this region, which is rarely explored historiographically. It is a critical analysis for understanding how regional processes shape migrant marginality, but also how local case-studies can inform national and regional policy.


Professor David Clark

University of Glasgow

Interventions at the end of life – social, comparative and historical analysis to promote global improvement

Care for people at the end of life is both a pressing humanitarian issue, and a contested space, for the 21st century. Population ageing, changing patterns of mortality and morbidity and the growing prevalence of chronic disease present growing challenges for the development of end of life care. Professor Clark's project is a comprehensive analysis of the emergent field of end of life care in order to understand how interventions are developed, implemented and assessed, and with what consequences. It adopts a global perspective to examine approaches of varying types and characteristics.

Dr Catherine Cox and Professor Hilary Marland

University College Dublin and University of Warwick

Prisoners, medical care and entitlement to health in England and Ireland, 1850–2000

This project is investigating health risk, medical interventions and healthcare in English and Irish prisons between 1850 and 2000. Dr Cox and Professor Marland are for the most part exploring the high incidence of mental illness amongst prisoners and the impact of prison on the mental health of inmates, adult and juvenile. Further strands of the project examine the management of medical care and disease; response to HIV/AIDS in prisons; the impact of political prisoners on medical regimes and prisoners' rights; the health of women prisoners; and the campaigns of lay and religious reformers in seeking to improve facilities. It assesses inherent tensions as medical staff grappled to maintain healthy and hygienic practices in the context of poor conditions, official disinterest and intermittent overcrowding.

Professors Sarah Cunningham-Burley and Anne Kerr

University of Edinburgh and University of Leeds

Translations and transformations in patienthood: cancer in the post-genomics era

Professor Cunningham and Professor Kerr are researching how patients and patient experiences have been impacted by transformed cancer treatments as a result of the post-genomic revolution. Social scientists have tended to focus on the social and ethical dimensions of genomic research, informed consent and expectations in emergent markets. The ultimate aim of this project, though, is to explore where and how patients feature in cancer research, clinical practice, service reorganisation, advocacy work and public health. It is an interdisciplinary project with science and technology studies, medical sociology and bioethics.

Dr Robert Duschinsky

University of Cambridge

Disorganised attachment in contemporary attachment theory: a critical analysis of paradigms, debates and applications

Contemporary Attachment Theory is a four-year project involving archive research and interviews with 25 leading attachment researchers in the US and UK. The project uses a sociological perspective to trace developments in the study and conceptualisation of attachment since 1990. Dr Duschinsky is critically examining contemporary controversies in the field, exploring the conceptualisations of child mental health at stake. He is also accessing the implications of different attachment theories for health and welfare interventions with children in the US and UK (eg the Circle of Security).

Dr Carrie Friese

London School of Economics & Political Science

Care as science: the role of animal husbandry in translational medicine

It is becoming increasingly common to hear life scientists say that scientific findings rely upon quality animal care. This research project asks why and how animal care is being made an explicit part of scientific knowledge production in the context of translational medicine today. In summary, Dr Friese seeks to understand how the ethical debates surrounding animal experimentation are being transformed into a scientific priority in the contemporary moment, and what this means for both in vivo science and translational medicine.

Professor Trisha Greenhalgh

University of Oxford

Studies in co-creating assisted living solutions

This research seeks to change how we develop technologies and support their use by and for older people with multimorbidity and declining health. By working with older people, industry partners and the NHS, Professor Greenhalgh aims to co-design assisted living technologies in a patient-centred way, embed these technologies in organisational processes and systems, and develop health systems that have the capacity to evolve and embrace new technologies as these emerge.

Professor Graeme Laurie

University of Edinburgh

Confronting the liminal spaces of health research regulation

This project is motivated by a concern that current regulation of biomedicine in the UK and Europe fails to capture, let alone effectively protect or promote, core individual and collective values. This consequently diminishes the ability of biomedicine to deliver benefit. Legal regulation is often deployed as a haphazard, knee-jerk response to perceived scandals, such as those related to human tissue, or is driven by a 'culture of caution', as with data linkage for research. Professor Laurie seeks to give transformative reconceptualisation and reorientation of current approaches away from legalistic paradigms, by delivering a framework for proportionate, adaptive and authentic partnerships of regulation practice within biomedicine.

Professors Havi Carel and Jane Macnaughton

Bristol University and Durham University

Life of Breath: breathing in cultural, clinical and lived experience

Professor Carel and Professor Macnaughton's 'Life of Breath' is motivated by the view that breathlessness and breathing can only be understood fully by drawing on both biomedical information and on cultural, literary, historical and phenomenological research. Breathing is a basic physiological process, but also has deep cultural, spiritual and personal meaning. It is unique being under automatic control but having some conscious override and plays a central role in cultural and spiritual practices like meditation. The pathological derivative of breathing, breathlessness, is a major symptom in both respiratory and cardiac disease, and in anxiety disorders. Whilst its physiology is well recognised, the subjective experiences of breathing and breathlessness are understudied and poorly understood, which Professor Carel and Professor Macnaughton are hoping to change.

Professor Daniel Pick

Birkbeck, University of London

Hidden persuaders? Brainwashing, culture, clinical knowledge and the Cold War human sciences,1950–1990

Professor Pick seeks to understand how brainwashing fears disseminated in culture and were then introduced into human sciences during and after the 1950s. He is therefore looking at how the psychiatric, psychoanalytical and psychological (‘psy’) professions colluded in political and commercial behavioural modification experiments from the 1950s onwards. The Cold War context is of enduring importance here as it shows how Anglo-American debates about clinical ‘mind control’ had complex roots and global repercussions. The ‘psy’ professions were accused of complicity in indoctrination, but much of this history is shrouded in myth, which this project seeks to uncover.

Professor Sally Sheard

University of Liverpool

The governance of health: medical, economic and managerial expertise in Britain, 1948–2010

Since the creation of the NHS in 1948, there has been a perpetual struggle to balance healthcare needs with the provision of services. Professor Sheard is assessing the shift in who has been given the governance of healthcare throughout post-war Britain, from government ministers to civil servants and management consultants. She is also looking at how the relationship between the government and medical professionals has changed, how the discipline of health economics has developed and how management consultancy businesses have developed their interest and involvement in the NHS.

Professor Ilina Singh

University of Oxford

Becoming good: early intervention and moral development in child psychiatry

This project investigates the emergence of the early intervention paradigm in child psychiatry through a set of linked studies that reveal and critically examine the paradigm’s discursive logics, its translational dimensions and its ethical implications. Professor Singh is also investigating young people’s perspectives in consideration of the harms and goods of early intervention into child moral development and moral conduct.

Professor Richard Smith

University of Cambridge

Migration, mortality and medicalisation: investigating the long-run epidemiological consequences of urbanisation, 1600–1945

Today, life expectancy is higher in urban rather than rural areas, but early modern towns and cities were demographic sinks with extraordinarily high mortality, especially among the young and migrants who were essential for city growth. This project seeks to investigate how and when cities transformed from urban graveyards into promoters of health between 1600 and 1945. The project will hypothesise that the process of endemicisation and exogenous disease variation is key to the evolution of both urban and non-urban mortality regimes, especially with respect to: infectious diseases among the young, maternal health and adult migrants and their health/immunological status.

Professor Julian Savulescu

University of Oxford

Responsibility and healthcare

Lifestyle choices are a very significant and increasing contributor to the global burden of disease. Because these disorders arise from people’s choices, some ethicists argue that people should be held responsible for their ensuing need for treatment. Given that medical resources are scarce, the question arises whether priority should be given to those who are not responsible for their medical condition. Professor Savulescu aims to answer this question. The project involves how and why people make the choices they do, including those who promote healthy or unhealthy choices. It requires understanding of substances such as alcohol and tobacco, the addiction involved with them and the health problems arising as a result of their consumption.

Professor Mathew Thompson and Dr Roberta Bivins

University of Warwick

The cultural history of the NHS

The NHS has become a national symbol, a cultural icon and a focus of popular and political belief, enthusiasm, criticism and even anger. Despite this, its place at the heart of British culture and identity remains unexamined. Professor Thompson and Dr Bivins are exploring the NHS from 1948 to 2018, and are seeking to reconstruct popular attitudes towards and understandings of the NHS from its early years to the present day. As well as this, they are examining cultural representations of the NHS in all their forms, scrutinising the self-representation strategies of the policies, and conveying cultural norms of behaviour and belief.


Professors Ian Barnes and Mark Thomas

Natural History Museum and University College London

Human adaptation to changing diet and infectious disease loads, from the origins of agriculture to present

Human diets have been changed by cultural, demographic and ecological changes over the past 10,000 years. While many methods and studies have been aimed at detecting recent natural selection, none can be as sensitive as the direct comparison of allele frequencies at different time points in continuous human populations. Furthermore, this approach is currently the only means of assessing temporal heterogeneity in natural selection. Archaeological and historical data are central to assessing the impact of key transitions of diet in this project.

Dr Thomas Douglas

University of Oxford

Neurointerventions in crime prevention: an ethical analysis

Neurally active drugs, and other interventions, are increasingly being used or advocated for crime prevention, for example testosterone-lowering agents to prevent recidivism in sexual offenders. These propose serious ethical quandaries, despite the acceptance there needs to be a new method of preventing crime. Dr Douglas' research employs empirically informed philosophical analysis to develop a comprehensive account of whether and when crime preventing neurointerventions may permissibly be offered, imposed or provided by the state or medical profession.

Professor Sarah Franklin

University of Cambridge

Fertilization through a looking glass: a sociology of UK IVF in the late twentieth-century

IVF's recent historical present remains largely unanalysed. Professor Franklin is characterising the intersection of biological reproduction, technological agency, ethical frameworks, scientific knowledge and public culture, through which IVF has become an accepted and regular fact of life. The value lies within both improving sociological understandings of pivotal technological changes in the past, and the improved possibility such understandings offer to the accurate modelling of similar changes in the future.

Professor Mark Jackson

University of Exeter

Lifestyle, health and disease: changing concepts of balance in modern medicine

Professor Jackson's research is looking at ways in which changing notions of balance have shaped scientific and clinical models of healthy lifestyles and to understand the manner in which preoccupations with balance have structured our lives. The central premise is that balance constitutes not only an objective for scientific and clinical enquiry but also a rhetorical construct employed to articulate shifting anxieties about wellbeing, environmental sustainability and political security.

Dr David Kirby

University of Manchester

Playing God: exploring the interactions among the biosciences, religion and entertainment media

Dr Kirby's research explores the ways in which entertainment media function as vehicles for science communication by analysing the complex interactions between production, dissemination and reception. It is the first in-depth historical study of the interactions among the biosciences, religion and entertainment media. On top of this, it uncovers how entertainment professionals convert the biosciences into cultural products and how religious communities negotiate these texts.

Dr Alex Mold

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Placing the public in public health: public health in Britain, 1948–2010

The place of public health is a critical issue for contemporary Britain. Whether it is appealing to individuals to stop smoking, or asking patients what they think of health services, the ‘public’ is constantly constructed and reconstructed within public health policy and practice. This project is historicising these concerns and explaining the changing place of public health within post-war Britain. Dr Mold is addressing: the meaning of the public within public health, who spoke on behalf of the public in public health, the role of the public within public health, and how responsible for public health the public was thought to be during this time.

Professors Simon Swain and Emilie Savage-Smith

University of Warwick and University of Oxford

A literary history of medicine: 'The Best Accounts of the Classes of Physicians' by In Abi Usaybiah (d. 1270)

The 13th century book on which this project is based covers 1700 years of medicine and was written both to entertain and to inform. It is not only the earliest comprehensive history of medicine, but is also the most important and ambitious of the medieval period. This historical source will be available for the first time in reliable translation and study, resulting in a step-change in our knowledge of medical history in Medieval Islam.

Professor David Stuckler

University of Cambridge

Social welfare and public health: analysing quasi-natural experiments from the 2007 recession

Healthcare has been affected by the global economic crisis, with some even arguing it was a contributor to economic decline. Data is needed crucially to understand the relationship between social welfare and population health. Professor Stuckler is looking at how social protection programmes affect public health; which specific welfare investments are the most effective; and perhaps most importantly, what is the role of the state in protecting people and public health?

Dr Steven Sturdy

University of Edinburgh

Making genomic medicine

Genomic medicine has become a particular interest in biomedical science. This project is locating the developments in genomic medicine in historical perspective by producing a comprehensive account of the socio-technical process that resulted in the current ferment of activity around genomic medicine. The story is expected to date back to the 1970s and does not just involve dramatic developments in medical science and technology. It also shifts in the orientation of public health policy, changes in the organisation and funding of clinical science and medicine, the emergence of new pharmaceutical business models and the growing influence of patient groups.


Professor Jonathan Barry

University of Exeter

The medical world of early modern England, Wales and Ireland, 1500–1715

This project is developing and making public a ground-breaking database with biographies of all medical practitioners active in England, Wales and Ireland c. 1500–1715, which will then be used to produce the first all-round study of the nature and impact of medical practice in early modern Britain. It will explore not only the medical practitioners' education, career patterns and medical activities, but also their major contribution to science, the arts, business, religious and political thought, revealing the key contribution they make to the revolutionary changes in Britain's place in the world.

Professor Sanjoy Bhattacharya

University of York

The local bases of global health: primary health care in South Asia and beyond, 1945–2010

Professor Bhattacharya's aim is to provide a rounded and original analysis of the global movement of Primary Health Care: one of the most ambitious efforts at increasing health coverage and equity internationally. He is examining the provision of universal healthcare within India, Ceylon/Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, and is looking at the impact of the transnational spread of ideas as a result of work carried out by global health agencies in South Asia.

Professor Mary Dixon-Woods

University of Leicester

Ethics of patient safety and quality in healthcare

Professor Dixon-Woods is identifying and characterising the moral dilemmas involved in providing safe, good quality care, and will generate principles and moral rules to help guide the analysis and resolution of these challenges. She is producing a critical, empirically informed account of accountability systems, including the ethical issues raised by using administrative and clinical data as a means of staff surveillance and discipline.

Professor Susan Golombok

University of Cambridge

Future families: the social and psychological outcomes of emerging assisted reproductive technologies for individuals, families and society

Advances in assisted reproductive technologies in combination with recent legislative changes are giving rise to new family forms that would not otherwise have existed. These include gay fathers with children born through surrogacy and egg donation, and the increasing numbers of children being born through egg-sharing, egg-freezing and intra-family donation. Professor Golombok is gathering empirical data on the impact of advances in assisted reproduction as they emerge in order to address the ethical issues that they raise, and inform the development of policy and practice.

Dr Ian Harper

University of Edinburgh

Understanding TB control: technologies, ethics and programmes

Professor Harper is exploring issues around the implementation of the WHO STOP TB Strategy. Countries have been broadening the arenas of TB control activities to include: TB/HIV, drug-resistant forms and issues of marginalised populations; health system strengthening; empowering people and communities; and developing operational research. He is addressing ethical and public health issues revealed in the production and implementation of guidelines for drug resistant TB, and how these issues are resolved within particular countries.

Professor Jessica Reinisch

Birkbeck, University of London

The reluctant internationalists: a multidisciplinary history of public health and international organisations, movements and experts in twentieth century Europe

This project connects both the history of public health with the history of international institutions, which has not yet been done. Professor Reinisch is constructing a broad, new perspective on ideas and forms of internationalism, and the international ambitions of doctors, medical researchers, relief workers, public health teams, politicians, generals, diplomats, and policy-makers in twentieth century Europe. Ultimately the goal of the project is to be a major, agenda-setting monograph on the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration as the most significant international organisation to be established on the ruins of the League of Nations, which significantly shaped international collaboration in its wake.

Dr Volker Scheid

University of Westminster

Beyond tradition: ways of knowing and styles of practice in East Asian medicines, 1000 to present

East Asian medicines continue to be widely described as traditions, a label that automatically casts these practices in opposition to biomedicine and science even as in clinical research and practice these lines are being blurred. This is a good opportunity to examine afresh East Asian medicines throughout the last one thousand years in and on their own terms. Dr Scheid is researching pharmaceuticals, analysing how physicians in various locales seek to solve concrete clinical problems by engaging with bodies, and analysing East Asian recipes.

Professors Rosamund Scott and Stephen Wilkinson

King's College London and Lancaster University

The donation and transfer of human reproductive materials

Professor Scott and Professor Wilkinson are producing a coherent, comprehensive, and philosophically defensible ethical framework on the subjects of reproductive materials. The framework will then be used to examine its implications for clinical practice, law, public policy and regulation, bringing together biomedical sciences and medical law. It will be capable of providing clinicians, policy makers, health professionals and scientists with greater clarity, and with a more precise set of arguments, concepts and terms. It will also increase public confidence in, and understanding of, these areas of research and practice.

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