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Professor John Harris

  • Visiting

Visiting Professor


John Harris FMedSci., FRSA., B.A., D.Phil., Hon. D.Litt. is a Lord Alliance Professor of Bioethics and Director, Institute for Science,  Ethics and Innovation, School of Law. He was educated at the University of Kent and at Balliol College, Oxford.

From 2004-2011, John was the joint Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Medical Ethics, the leading journal in medical and applied ethics. He was elected a Fellow of the United Kingdom Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci) in 2001 – the first philosopher to have been elected to Fellowship of this new National Academy, which was established to serve “the medical sciences in the same way as the Royal Society serves the natural sciences (and) the British Academy serves the humanities”.  He was elected a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts in 2006 of the Society of Biology in 2011 and is a Member of Academia Europaea (The Academy of Europe) 2011. He was one of the Founder Directors of the International Association of Bioethics and is a founder member of the Board of the Journal Bioethics and a member of the Editorial Board of the Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics and many other journals.

John frequently appears on radio and television both in the UK and overseas to discuss Biomedical ethics, medical jurisprudence and related issues. He has acted as Ethical Consultant to national and international bodies and corporations, including the European Parliament, The World Health Organisation, The European Commission, The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), The United Kingdom Department of Health, The Health Council of the Netherlands, The Research Council of Norway, The Welsh Office Of The United Kingdom, The British Fluoridation Society, Granada Television, Virgin Health Bank, Smithkline Beecham and GlaxoSmithkline.

He is the founder and a General Editor of a major series of books for Oxford University Press entitled, 'Issues in Biomedical Ethics' and a new series of books that he co-edits with Sir John Sulston (Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine 2002), published by Bloomsbury, entitled, 'Science, Ethics and Society.'


John has directed six major projects for the European Commission. Two of these projects, both under the general title: 'AIDS: Ethics, Justice and European Policy' involved 34 groups from 14 countries. These projects were funded at 448,700ECU (approximately £378,000).

From April 1996 to September 1999 the European Commission (DGXII) supported project entitled Communicable Diseases, Lifestyles and Personal Responsibility: Ethics & Policy was funded at 500K ECU (then £416,600).

A major project for the European Commission (Directorate General Research) entitled 'EUROSTEM' investigated and monitored ethics and policy issues surrounding the progress of human stem cell research. This award of €747,000.00 funded the project for three years from 2001. From February 2004 'EURECA' began under the European Commission Directorate General for Research (FP6). This project was funded at €700,000.00 and analysed the nature and ethical parameters of scientific research.

In 2009 The Wellcome Trust funded iSEI as one of its Strategic Programmes in Bioethics with John Harris as Director. The funding is worth over £800,000.00 over 5 years.

Total Research funding since 1994 approx. £3,000,000.00.