Empty Spaces explore the grey, unregulated area of experimental therapies. Some areas of biomedical enquiry proceed in the spaces between existing areas of legal regulation. One
Fletcher coordinates session during Edinburgh International Science Festival ‘Should We Give Up Meat to Save the Planet?’
Should We Give Up Meat to Save the Planet?
Friday 6 April
Our food systems are a major cause of environmental damage, linked to greenhouse gas emissions, loss of biodiversity and deforestation. Researchers and policymakers are encouraging us to adopt sustainable diets, but how do we make the right choices? And should we – as suggested by recently published guidelines in Sweden and the Netherlands – be reducing meat and dairy as these have the greatest environmental impact? Or should we be supporting our farmers because, in the UK, livestock production is such an important part of our economy? Join us for presentations and discussion.Ticket price includes samples of three sustainable snacks provided Edinburgh Larder.
Mike Small was one of the people who developed the Fife Diet project – motto ‘think global, eat local’ – to highlight the environmental costs of conventional food production, and celebrate local food. He is currently a freelance writer and edits Bella Caledonia magazine.
Pamela Mason is a registered public health nutritionist with a Masters in Food Policy who has recently co-authored a book on Sustainable Diets (published by Earthscan) with Tim Lang, Professor of Food Policy at City University, London. She also works with local food networks in South Wales.
Click here to book tickets.
Liminal spaces colleagues publish latest article ‘Charting regulatory stewardship in health research: Making the invisible visible?’, Cambridge quarterly of healthcare ethics, Vol 27 (2018)
This article analyses a hitherto largely obscured feature of regulatory environments in health research; namely, the role of regulatory stewardship. Through examples drawn from research ethics committees, emerging technologies, and governance of research resources, it outlines the essential features of regulatory stewardship, and argues that this concept can demonstrate considerable added value for all parties in delivering and benefiting from efficient and effective navigation of regulatory landscapes. It offers an exposition of the normative principles and associated responsibilities of the concept. The extant invisibility of regulatory stewardship requires fuller recognition and better integration of the approach into the effective functioning of law and regulation in the health research context.
‘Charting regulatory stewardship in health research: Making the invisible visible?’
Graeme Laurie, Edward S. Dove, Isabel Fletcher, Agomoni Ganguli-Mitra, Catriona McMillan, Nayha Sethi, Annie Sorbie, (2018) In: Cambridge quarterly of healthcare ethics, Vol 27, pp 333-347
Governing Health Research from Within: Empowering the Actors Who Occupy Regulatory Spaces – 26‐27 January 2017: Wellcome, London
In January, Liminal Spaces colleagues held a workshop ‘Governing Health Research from Within: Empowering the Actors Who Occupy Regulatory Spaces’.
The architecture of health research has vastly expanded over the past two decades. Today,research involves and crosses between genomic data, tissue, health and lifestyle data, metadata and social media, reaching far into the private spheres and interests of patients, research participants and the wider population. This creates many new regulatory objects requiring attention, and also blurs distinctions between traditional roles such as clinician/researcher, and patient/participant. These developments often result in a burgeoning of silo‐based regulatory spaces – focusing respectively
data/tissue/cells/trials/databases/internet – which are being occupied with an ever‐expanding population of new actors, far beyond the classic actors such as regulators and self‐selecting patient groups. This workshop sought to identify the dynamics affecting this expanding range of actors and the challenges that they face in navigating and influencing health research through regulation. It also sought to examine deep questions about how these actors can be empowered, together with traditional regulators, to co‐produce optimal governance and practices across the entire spectrum of human health research. In short, we aimed to begin reimagining health research regulation in terms of the human practices experiences that drive it, while developing methods to evaluate those
influences and their role in determining what counts as good governance.
The workshop report can be found here.
Isabel Fletcher presented on the history of obesity to the Edinburgh International Conference of Medicine. Her presentation focused on explaining why, despite being recognised since antiquity, obesity is best considered as a modern phenomenon. Fletcher described the ways in which contemporary knowledge about the extent, and negative effect on health, of excess bodyweight (obesity and overweight) derive from American and British research into the causes of coronary heart disease, and continued by outlining the development the body mass index (BMI) to both define and measure rates of obesity, and how this information was used to map its increasing prevalence.
Samuel Taylor-Alexander had an article published in the leading disciplinary journal Current Anthropology. The article, entitled “Unmaking Responsibility: Patient Death and Face Transplantation”, demonstrates how the two components of responsibility—imputation and accountability—are decoupled in reports of patient death in the field.
In particular, Taylor-Alexander argues that responsibility is a product forged at the meeting of diverse social and technoscientific components and is something that is open to being remade and unmade.
Research by the Mason Institute’s Graeme Laurie and Nayha Sethi conducted as part of work for the Scottish Health Informatics Programme (SHIP) and the Farr Institute on robust governance of data sharing practices has been widely endorsed and supported by a new report by the Irish Health Research Board (HRB). The new report outlines the infrastructure and services needed in Ireland to allow safe access, storing, sharing, and linking data for research.
Liminal Spaces Senior Research Fellow, Isabel Fletcher took part in the Edinburgh Science Festival’s SciMart event. She spoke at the event on Sustainability: From Food Systems to Stovies and Back Again, with Christian Reynolds from the University of Aberdeen. The event brought together food producers, researchers and chefs to reveal the fascinating science behind some of the nation’s favourite foodstuffs.
An article led by Edinburgh Law School and Liminal Spaces PhD candidate Edward Dove has been published in the world-renowned journal Science.
The article, which is a ‘Policy Forum’ covering a science-relevant topic from a policy perspective, discusses key lessons learned from five data-intensive multi-jurisdictional research projects, of which several of the co-authors were personally involved.
On 24 March 2016, the Liminal Spaces project’s PhD Candidate, Annie Sorbie, will present at an upcoming MI Lunch on Regulating healthcare professionals and the public interest – ‘Hello from the other side: tales from the tribunal.
Over the last 15 years Annie has prepared, prosecuted and advised upon hundreds of cases before the national regulatory tribunals, as well as in the civil courts. These cases concern the fitness to practise of a wide range of healthcare professionals, from pharmacists to chiropractors, and span conduct from clinical incompetence to dishonesty and sexual misconduct. Drawing on her experience, Annie will provide a lively and accessible insight into how the courts have approached the concept of the public interest in this context.