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Edinburgh Law School leads new UK/Ireland research collaboration on public health ethics and law

Tue 8 December 2020

Professor Anne-Maree Farrell

Professor Anne-Maree Farrell has been awarded a grant to launch a new public health ethics and law research network in the UK and Ireland.

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Irish Research Council (IRC) have today announced the recipients of an innovative joint call to foster collaborations between Ireland-based and UK-based researchers who work across the breadth of the social sciences.

Health is one of the key policy sectors likely to be affected by Brexit, with any change in the relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union likely to have a significant impact on cross-border health provision on the island of Ireland. What these developments might mean in terms of such provision has now been made more complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governmental responses to the legal, policy and ethical issues raised by the pandemic have varied within the four nations of the UK, and between the UK and Ireland. Despite COVID-19 not recognising geographical borders, longstanding North-South tensions have also contributed to different responses to managing the risks posed by the pandemic on the island of Ireland. Against this background, the COVID-19 pandemic offers a unique opportunity to re- think how we should understand the relationship between public health, ethics and law in the UK and Ireland, informed by a range of academic and public health practitioner perspectives.

Led by Prof Anne-Maree Farrell, Chair of Medical Jurisprudence at Edinburgh Law School and Director of the Mason Institute, and Prof Mary Donnelly, Professor of Law at University College Cork, Ireland, the project will bring together these differing perspectives to gain a better understanding of this relationship and establish a new public health ethics and law research network (PEHL) in the UK and Ireland.

The newly established PEHL will also contribute to the development of a cross-disciplinary research-stakeholder agenda in public health, ethics and law with a view to developing future collaborations by those involved in the network.

Professor Anne-Maree Farrell
I am absolutely delighted to have been awarded one of the highly competitive ESRC and IRC research network grants. Together with colleagues from University College Cork, Queen’s University Belfast, and the UK Faculty of Public Health, I am very much looking forward to developing closer research and practitioner links in the area of public health ethics and law in the UK and Ireland, drawing on a range of issues raised by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Professor Anne-Maree Farrell
Professor of Medical Jurisprudence, Edinburgh Law School

The research network grant is one of twenty new UK-Ireland research collaborations in the social sciences announced by the ESRC and the IRC that range in aim from mental health, children’s welfare, and public health to data protection.

Jennifer Rubin
I am delighted that we have been able to support a range of networking activity between UK and Irish researchers. These grants will foster greater connectivity and enduring collaboration on important, timely and shared social science research agendas.
Professor Jennifer Rubin
Executive Chair of the Economic and Social Research Council