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Mason Institute PhD Research Group

The PhD Research Group was created in 2022 by two Mason Institute (MI) PhD students for PhD students who are interested in and/or are researching in areas at the interface between ethics, law, medicine and the life sciences at the University of Edinburgh. The group, hosted by the MI, aims to support the research processes of these PhD students and lead to the creation of research outputs to strengthen the students’ research profile. To achieve this aim, the group hosts regular events and offers a number of opportunities to the student community.

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Over the academic year, the group will host the following events for its members:

  1. Discussion Seminars

These are sessions for students to share research ideas and developments within their own research and the medical law and ethics field generally. This offers students the opportunity to critically reflect on and discuss their ideas with others in a supportive environment. Two sessions are held per semester.

  1. Writing Workshops

These are structured, goal-driven, full day workshops for students to attend, allowing them to engage in immersive writing habits on their PhD theses. One session is held per month.

  1. Career Development Session

At this session, students meet to discuss and work towards boosting their employability prospects for academic jobs. Activities for these events will vary according to the needs of the students attending the session but could include peer-review of proposals or mock interviews.

  1. Writing Retreat

One annual weekend writing retreat for students. This offers structured, goal driven writing as well as community-strengthening opportunities and activities. The occurrence of the writing retreat is subject to funding availability.


Members will also have the following opportunities:

  1. PhD students in their second or third year will be able to present their research at the MI Work-in-Progress seminars. One student presentation per semester.
  2. Blog publication opportunities on the MI blog. At minimum, one post per semester will be reserved for the group.


We will host events either virtually or in-person dependent upon the safety guidelines and comfort of our attendees.

  1. Annual Medical Law and Bioethics Early Career Researcher Workshop.
  2. Annual prospective PhD ‘taster’ session for students interested in undertaking a PhD in Medical Law and Ethics with us.

Zahra Jaffer and Rebecca Richards are the co-founders and the 2022 co-convenors of the group.

If you would like to join the Group or contact us with any questions regarding the group, then please email