Usher Institute

Professor Sarah Cunningham-Burley announced as next Chair of Nuffield Council on Bioethics

Sarah will take up the post formally in January 2024 when the current Chair of the Nuffield Council, Professor Dave Archard, steps down from the role. In the meantime, Sarah will join the Nuffield Council on Bioethics (NCOB) as a Member of the Council until she takes up the role of Chair.

Sarah’s research focusses on the social and ethical contexts of medical technologies, data science, engagement, health, and disease. She is co-director of the Centre for Biomedicine, Self and Society, supported by Wellcome, which conducts interdisciplinary research across the humanities and social sciences relevant to biomedicine, public health, and health care.

Sarah has a long-standing interest in public engagement with research and its role in governance. Over recent years this has involved using dialogue and deliberation to engage publics in discussing the social and ethical issues in data-intensive health research. She was a co-lead on the UKRI-funded UK Pandemic Ethics Accelerator ‘Public values, transparency, and governance’ workstream.

I am delighted to be offered this outstanding opportunity to work with the Nuffield Council on Bioethics to explore and address the ethical issues and impacts of developments in health and life sciences. These affect us all, as a society and as individuals, and the difficult decisions we have to make about health and new possibilities that arise with scientific developments. The Nuffield Council on Bioethics plays an incredibly important role as a trusted source of independent advice and information. I look forward to working with colleagues to take this work forward over the next five years as we face the pressing challenges ahead.

Professor Sarah Cunningham-BurleyProfessor of Medical and Family Sociology at the University of Edinburgh, Dean of Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences, Edinburgh Medical School, and the University lead for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Sarah will succeed Dave Archard who has Chaired the NCOB since 2017. Sarah is formally appointed to the five-year role as Chair by the NCOB’s funders: the Nuffield Foundation the Medical Research Council which is part of UKRI, and Wellcome. The selection panel was Chaired by Sir Keith Burnett, Chair of the Nuffield Foundation.

I congratulate Sarah Cunningham-Burley on her appointment to Chair of Council and welcome her as a Council Member until I step down. The role is a challenging but enormously rewarding one and I have no doubt she will discharge it with integrity and a clear commitment to the defining values of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics.

Professor Dave ArchardCurrent Chair of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics