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About the Mason Institute

The J Kenyon Mason Institute for Medicine, Life Sciences and the Law (MI), based at the University of Edinburgh and located within the School of Law, serves as an interdisciplinary research network, aimed at investigating the interface between medicine, life sciences and the law in relation to medical and bioethical developments on a national and global scale.

MI is dedicated to conducting innovative world class research, and raising the quality, quantity, and awareness of the research being undertaken, individually and in cooperation with other domestic, European, and international partners at the University of Edinburgh.  As an institution, we provide evidence-based research and policy advice and are a nexus for international collaboration and exchange, drawing on and pulling together a diverse collection of existing networks and forging new ones.

We are undertaking an expanding portfolio of work that will lead to greater insights into the governance and regulation of medicine and the life sciences, doing so via direct and on-going engagement with regulatory and user communities. Drawing on an international network of academics, the Mason Institute works collaboratively with industry, scientists, policymakers and the public. Research to-date has produced standards and guidance for policymakers and industry, nationally and internationally.

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The J Kenyon Mason Institute for Medicine, Life Sciences and Law strives to reflect the openness of spirit and mind exemplified by Professor JK Mason, and to contribute to academia, public life, and the wider society through ground-breaking research and teaching. Professor Mason was Regius Professor of Forensic Medicine in the University from 1973-1985 and Honorary Fellow in the School of Law from 1985 until his death on 26 January 2017.

Prof Mason’s work and commitment to Edinburgh perfectly embody the ideals to which the Mason Institute aspires. The institute reflects the interdisciplinary interests of Ken and others at the University towards collaborative, supportive, impactful and engaging research and teaching. The Mason Institute’s vision includes a commitment to be a centre of excellence that is genuinely University-wide, internationally-oriented, and which emphasises the importance of interdisciplinary working at the interface of medicine, science, social sciences and law.

In Memoriam: Professor John Kenyon (Ken) Mason (1919 – 2017)

Ken Mason Memorial Blog

Obituary: Professor Ken Mason, medical jurisprudence pioneer

Call for Applications

The Mason Institute’s Visiting Fellows programme offers scholars in medical law, bioethics and related disciplines the opportunity to spend a period of time conducting their research in a stimulating interdisciplinary environment, as part of the University of Edinburgh’s vibrant research community, while enjoying the rich cultural life and picturesque surrounds of the historic city of Edinburgh.

The Mason Institute is based in the School of Law, located in Old College, in the centre of Edinburgh. Our research community includes lawyers, bioethicists and social scientists working on a wide range of topics at the interface of medicine, life science and law.

During their stay, Visiting Fellows will be provided with access to University facilities including workspace, library and IT access, and will have the opportunity to work alongside Mason Institute researchers, take part in MI activities and research meetings, and attend other events across the University. They will give informal talks on their research and may also be invited more formally to participate in events such as the MI Lunch seminar series or MI Lecture. Each Visiting Fellow will have a sponsor from the MI Executive Committee who will act as a point of contact and assist in organising their participation in these activities.

Visiting Fellows will ordinarily be responsible for their own costs, including travel, accommodation and subsistence.

We welcome applications from scholars at all levels. Visiting Fellows will generally spend between two weeks and three months at MI; longer or shorter visits may be possible by arrangement.

Please contact about applications and general queries.

Visiting Edinburgh: travel, accommodation and local facilities

Edinburgh has an international airport (EDI) and can also be reached by train (to Edinburgh Waverley) from other major cities in the UK.

Short-term accommodation in Edinburgh is usually readily available (with the exception of August) on a nightly, weekly or monthly basis; prices vary depending on the time of year but as a rough guide, visitors should allow £80 per night for hotel stays, and from £300 per week for short-term apartment rental. Your MI Sponsor may be able to offer advice and assistance in finding accommodation.

Edinburgh is a major city with extensive shopping, dining and entertainment options. For groceries and other daily needs, there are several supermarkets and other shops within a few minutes’ walk of Old College.

The Mason Institute sends out a regular newsletter, which highlights and discusses important social, medical, legal and ethical developments, and policy or regulatory changes. It also provides updates on MI research,  activities, events, programmes and achievements.


January/February 2018


October 2017

June/July 2017


September 2016

March/April 2016

January 2016


 November/December 2015

September/October 2015

June/July 2015

January/February 2015


November/December 2014

September/October 2014

May/June 2014


October 2013

May 2013

February 2013


November 2012

MI Membership is open to individuals from all sectors and backgrounds who wish to contribute to the Mason Institute’s activities and outputs, and participate jointly in research, knowledge exchange and capacity building.

The Mason Institute seeks to create an open and vibrant community at the interface of medicine, life sciences and law, and will maintain open communication with it members on opportunities for growth and collaboration.

If you would like to become a member, or have any questions, please contact us at: