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Policy briefs and vision statement mark end of Liminal Spaces project

Wed 31 March 2021

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The Liminal Spaces project has come to an end following over five years’ scrutiny of how the regulatory systems that support health research can be improved.

To mark its close, the project team – led by Professor Graeme Laurie – has developed a vision statement for the future of health research, and a suite of policy briefs and concept notes that draw together the project’s key themes and research findings.

The vision statement calls for regulatory systems to continue to move away from strict, rules-based approaches, towards flexible regimes that promote the social value of health research in the widest sense. To achieve this, Liminal Spaces urge regulatory systems to shift from siloed regulation and embrace a whole system approach that captures the breadth and complexity of health research and promotes co-production of effective regulatory practices.

Four new policy briefs developed by the team reflect this aspiration, and offer recommendations for how a variety of actors and organisations can support health research in the future. The four briefs focus on:

The team has also developed four concept notes to support future understanding of ideas central to health research regulation. The concepts explored include regulatory stewardship, social licence, public interest, and processual regulation.

Commenting on the close of the project and the publication of the materials, Professor Laurie said, “This project has pushed against the boundaries of how health research is currently regulated. We hope that our extensive work over the last five years that has included over 90 new publications – along with the new policy briefs – will encourage further debate among policymakers, academics, and others about how health research should be regulated in the future.”

The new materials, along with other resources produced by the team, are available on the project’s legacy website. The project was funded by Wellcome.