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Featured Research Projects

Collaborative Research Project in Biomedical Innovation Law – Repurposing Known Drugs

Professor Kathy Liddell is a core partner in the Collaborative Research Project in Biomedical Innovation Law (CeBIL), headed by Professor Timo Minssen at the University of Copenhagen. Other partner institutions to the research programme include the Petrie-Flom Centre for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics at Harvard Law School, Harvard Medical School, and the University of Michigan Law School. The project is funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Professor Liddell, with Senior Research Associate Dr John Liddicoat, will be responsible for a study focusing on repurposing pharmaceuticals with new medical uses. The project aims to harness legal expertise in the field of intellectual property to help scientists and clinicians with the challenge of repurposing known drugs. It will comprise two strands across three years:

1. Identifying the nature, source and extent of the incentive gap (if any) for developing new medical purposes for known products.

2. Studying the role of law in making re-purposing research more economically attractive, efficient and effective.

Liability for Harms Caused by the Use of AI in Healthcare

The accelerating integration of AI systems into the fabric of everyday life raises pressing questions about how legal liability will be assigned when these systems cause harm and whether the laws governing this liability should be reformed.  Jeff Skopek received a Wellcome Trust Seed Award to explore these questions as they arise in the context of healthcare. 

His project focuses in particular on the liability landscape for harms caused by the use of machine learning algorithms in medical diagnosis and treatment.  These algorithms promise to transform healthcare in two related ways: first, by recommending diagnoses and treatments that are highly personalized to individual patients; and second, by making these recommendations on the basis of a logic that is a black-box to the physicians using them. 

When these black-box algorithms out-perform doctors yet have significant error rates that cannot be eliminated, they give rise to the legal and normative questions at the core of this project.   Skopek seeks to clarify how the law of negligence and product liability might apply to harms caused by the use of such algorithms and whether either of these areas of law should be reformed or supplemented with a sui generis legislative regime for AI. 

Other Selected Research Projects

Barnard, Catherine: Picking, packing and plucking: International Migration in the post Brexit world (ESRC)

Bevilacqua, Catherine: Towards a Theory of Human Rights in Practice: The Role of Plastic Human Rights and International Human Rights Obligations in the UN's Approach to Cholera in Haiti (AHRC)

Hen-Smith, May: Taxing Ghosts: Tackling Residency Loopholes in the Digital Economy (Leverhulme Foundation)

Liddell, Kathy: Collaborative Research Programme in Biomedical Innovation Law (Novo Nordisk Foundation)

Menashe, Maayan: Re-Imagining Global Labour Rights’ Enforcement (British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship)

Steffek, Felix: Should I go to court? Improving Access to Justice using Artificial Intelligence to Predict and Explain Summary Judgments (Nuffield Foundation)