• Projects

Professor Thérèse Murphy

Recently I conducted interviews with members of the UK’s Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority. The interviews fit within a funded project we’re calling ‘Inside ELSI’. The acronym ELSI stands for ‘ethical, legal and social implications’. It stems from the Human Genome Project, and it was designed to spark fresh thinking on how best to regulate new health technologies. What ELSI suggests is that it’s foolish to have a model based on ‘science first, implications later’; ELSI and the science need to be interwoven. My project, Inside ELSI, looks at actual practices within key regulatory bodies. We’ve started with the internationally-respected Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority, and we plan to extend our focus over time.   


My other key project involves desk-based research; mainly reading and analysing lots of court decisions. It asks: how does the European Court of Human Rights see the relationship between law and bioethics? I’m looking forward to feedback on one of the first pieces to emerge from this research: it's an essay in Molly Land and Jay Aronson's New Technologies for Human Rights Law and Practice, and the entire book is open access. 

 Dr Mark Flear

I’m currently working on what I call the ‘Bad Blood Project’. This project looks at the bans or deferrals on blood donation by ‘men who have sex with men’ (MSM). The project is really in the early days – but the great thing is I’m already learning a lot about what is, for me, a new topic. What really excites me about the project is the chance to explore law/science/society relationships. I’m also developing a really great network including colleagues in other universities and policymakers around Europe.

I continue to be interested in European law and new health technologies, which was the focus of an exciting ESRC-funded project I worked on with Thérèse, Prof Tammy Hervey (Sheffield) and Dr Anne-Maree Farrell (then at Manchester, now at Monash in Australia). We ran a really stimulating series of seminars, developed a wide network including scholars and regulators from across Europe, and published a book with OUP at the end of the project. It was great working as a team on a new area.

I draw on the expertise I developed during the project in my role as a member of the Northern Ireland DNA Database Governance Board. I also use it to teach about law and new health technologies, both here at QUB Law and elsewhere. So, for example, in the summer of 2015 I taught in the European Health Observatory Summer School at the Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.

Dr Clemens Rieder

I am interested in the concept of solidarity as a basis for health law. The question which currently haunts me in particular is whether a conceptually plausible, or even convincing, answer can be found that solidarity can be scaled up from the national to the supranational level. What stands in between the national and the supranational level are boundaries, which constitute the second leg of my current research interest. At the moment I am writing an article which seeks to contextualise boundaries in relation to national health care systems.

Dr Amrei Müller

I am conducting research for the project ‘Healthcare in conflict: Do armed groups have obligations and responsibilities?’ funded by a three-year Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship.

The aim of the project is to critically examine the obligations and responsibilities of non-state armed groups to secure access to health care of populations under their influence or control in armed conflicts, and how these relate to the obligations and responsibilities of states and international organisations. By clarifying these obligations and responsibilities, the project aims to improve the provision of health services to conflict-affected populations.