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  Investigations into the law and ethics of biomedical technologies


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  Dr Pin Lean Lau  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

In the course of the last three decades, scientific technologies have developed so tremendously that present-day advancements such as CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing, three-dimensional organ bio printing, and the proliferation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in our contemporary societies, amongst others, would not have been foreseen.

The rich tapestry of omnipresent digital media constantly feeding us information means that we are privy, almost on a daily basis, to the simultaneous miracles and devastations of science and technology. From in-vitro gene-edited babies in China, to the creation of human-monkey chimeras, to fully autonomous ‘killer robots’ operating on algorithmic design in military operations, we have surely been spectators to some of the most valuable (and controversial) discoveries in this century.

As our community of global citizens moves into the height of the digital age, however, continued burning and new concerns emerge; not only for legislators, policy makers and market stakeholders, but also for individuals. These concerns relating to scientific technologies are manifold, but the focus of the intended research meets at the intersection of biomedical laws, international human rights and constitutional law, and the use and consideration of various biomedical technologies.

A PhD student is sought to investigate technologies such as genome editing, therapeutic cloning, 3D organ bio-printing, cryogenics and cryopreservation, artificial intelligence, xenotransplantation, reproductive technologies such as PGD, and other applications of technologies in biomedicine and bioethics, defined from an international and comparative legal and regulatory perspective.

The student will design the details of their research topic in consultation with the supervisor.

There is significant potential for collaboration with external stakeholders and both supranational and international networks in the European Association of Health Law and the Future Health Law Institute (as examples).

The student will also be expected to integrate and build collaborative and inter-disciplinary or multi-disciplinary approaches with associated research groups within the University, such as the Brunel International Law Research Group, the Global Lives Research Group, and the Brunel Human Rights, Society and the Arts Research Group.

In some instances, through the available networks, students may be given the opportunity to receive specific PhD-level bursaries to present in poster presentations or other types of conference presentations in widely-attended international biomedical law conferences.

Prior qualification in law is mandatory, preferably a 2:1 Hons Degree (UK or equivalent). Prior assessed knowledge or qualification in bioethics, biomedical laws, medical ethics, medical law and/or biomedical technologies is an advantage.

Research journey

Doctoral research programmes (PhDs) take a proud place in the world-class research environment and community at Brunel. PhD students are recognised and valued by their supervisors as an essential part of their departments and a key component of the university's overall strategy to develop and deliver world-class research.

A PhD programme is expected to take 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time, with intakes starting in January, April or October.

The general University entrance requirement for registration for a research degree is normally a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree (1st or 2:1) or an international equivalent. A Masters degree is a welcome, but not required, qualification for entry.

Find out how to apply for a PhD at Brunel

Research support

Excellent research support and training

The Graduate School provides a range of personal, professional and career development opportunities. This includes workshops, online training, coaching and events, to enable you to enhance your professional profile, refine your skills, and plan your next career steps as part of the Researcher Development Programme. The researcher development programme (RDP) offers workshops and seminars in a range of areas including progression, research management, research dissemination, and careers and personal development. You will also be offered a number of online, self-study courses on BBL, including Research Integrity, Research Skills Toolkit, Research Methods in Literature Review and Principles of Research Methods.

Library services

Brunel's Library is open 24 hours a day, has 400,000 books and 250,000 ebooks, and an annual budget of almost £2m. Subject information Specialists train students in the latest technology, digital literacy, and digital dissemination of scholarly outputs. As well as the physical resources available in the Library, we also provide access to a wealth of electronic resources. These include databases, journals and e-books. Access to these resources has been bought by the Library through subscription and is limited to current staff and students. 

Dedicated research support staff provide guidance and training on open access, research data management, copyright and other research integrity issues.

Find out more: Brunel Library

Careers support

You will receive tailored careers support during your PhD and for up to three years after you complete your research at Brunel. We encourage you to actively engage in career planning and managing your personal development right from the start of your research, even (or perhaps especially) if you don't yet have a career path in mind. Our careers provision includes online information and advice, one-to-one consultations and a range of events and workshops. The Professional Development Centre runs a varied programme of careers events throughout the academic year. These include industry insight sessions, recruitment fairs, employer pop-ups and skills workshops.

Anthropology (2) Biological Sciences (4) Engineering (12) Law (22)

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 About the Project