Friday, 31 January 2014

£1.3m ESRC Research Grant awarded to SATSU

Andrew Webster, Director of  SATSU (the Science and Technology Studies Unit based in the Department), has recently been awarded a large research grant by the Economic and Social Research Council to undertake work in the sociology of science field which focuses on current developments in regenerative medicine and stem cells. This is pertinent research considering regular media coverage about patients seeking cell theapy treatment abroad as a last resort to cure terminal illness.

The grant is for £1.3m and will begin in late spring, so a number of postdoc job opportunities will appear soon. The research explores in particular developments in cell therapies, to track the interplay between corporations  clinics and regulators, especially in regard to perceptions of its clinical utility, and the patterns of regulatory oversight that are seen to be needed. We hope thereby to determine the current and potential impact of the field on health and healthcare systems and how these in turn shape its development. 

The work builds on previous work in SATSU - the REMEDIE project - funded by the European Commission and a national ESRC programme on stem cells that Andrew coordinatedAndrew recently gave a presentation to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Social Science and Policy on the issues raised for the NHS. Meanwhile SATSU's doctoral researcher, Ruchhi Higham, is also working in the area examining the ways the field disrupts conventional approaches to clinical trials. 

More generally, this research ties in with the European Commission-funded COST Action called 'Bio-objects', that Andrew also Chairs.

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