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Global Biopolitics Research Centre

Global Biopolitics Research Centre

We are an international, interdisciplinary centre comprised of academics conducting research projects and consultancy work in global biopolitics.

We aim to uncover and specify the many far-reaching social and political issues generated by the rapid development of the life sciences and new health technologies in the global bioeconomy. 

Funding agencies for projects include the ESRC, FP7, NIHR

and private foundations.

Our research is theory driven and policy relevant, offering stakeholders from government, industry and civil society academically informed policy insights. We publish widely in both academic and professional journals to reach the full range of potential beneficiaries of our research and to maximise stakeholder impacts.

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Read recent research excerpts on our website.

Rising Powers Research

Rising Powers is a two-stage research project, funded by the UK Economic & Social Research Council and based in the Global Biopolitics Research Centre in the Department of Political Economy, King's College London.

The project examines the nature of China and India's strategies in the governance of biomedical innovation and the implications this may have for UK policy. 

Read more about Rising Powers projects I & II in the boxes below.              Read more about ESRC's Rising Powers and Interdependant Futures initiative at


Salter, B., Zhou, Y., Datta, S. (2016). Governing new global health-care markets: the case of stem cell treatments. New Political Economy. DOI:10.1080/13563467.2016.1198757

Bicudo, E. (2016). Genomics Politics through Space and Time: The Case of Bioinformatics in Brazil. Public health genomics, 19(2), 81-92.

Faulkner, A. (2016) Opening the gateways to market and adoption of regenerative medicine? The UK case in context. Regenerative Medicine 11 (3): 321-330.

Salter, B., Zhou, Y., Datta, S. & Salter, C. (2016). Bioinformatics and the politics of innovation in the life sciences: science and the state in the UK, China, and India. Science, Technology and Human Values 1-34. DOI: 10.1177/0162243916631022

Rising Powers I: April 2010-June 2011
Funder:   UK Economic & Social Research Council  
Timeline:   April 2010-June 2011


Project Director

Professor Brian Salter , Principal Investigator, Department of Political Economy, King’s College London
Project Investigators
Dr Alex Faulkner , Co-Investigator, University of Sussex

Dr Stuart Hogarth, Co-Investigator, Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine, King’s College London
Professor Pranav Desai, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Professor M Ramesh, National University of Singapore, Singapore

The aim of the research was to examine the nature and impact of China and  India's strategies on the governance of biomedical innovation at national, regional and global levels and the implications for UK policy. Medical biotechnology is a government priority in the UK, which claims a world-leading position in several sectors. Policy priorities and the design of the present research were debated in a high-level workshop with UK policy makers who endorsed the research. Two priority fields of medical biotechnology are investigated, each focused around two case studies of substantive biomedical/economic activity: Regenerative Medicine (Stem cell research; Tissue-engineered wound care); and Stratified/Personalised Medicine (Bioinformatics; Pharmacogenomics). 

These areas of scientific research and development of products promise to revolutionise healthcare globally, and respond to major public health needs. The 'Rising Powers', especially China and India, are becoming increasingly influential in these fields, and national governments, regulators, scientific institutions, industry actors and other stakeholders are moving to develop new strategies to maintain and improve their positions in the global biomedical economy. At the same time, the increasing use of 'bio' science and technology and the development of complex biosocial databases and human cell banks ('biobanks') for therapeutic exploitation raise a host of ethical, social and legal issues which different societies approach in very different ways.

Rising Powers II: April 2012-June 2015

State strategies of governance in global biomedical innovation: The impact of China and India 

Funder: UK Economic & Social Research Council 
Timeline: April 2012-June 2015 

Core Team:

Professor Brian Salter , Principal Investigator, Department of Political Economy, King’s College London

Dr Alex Faulkner , Co-Investigator, University of Sussex

Dr Stuart Hogarth , Co-Investigator, Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine, King’s College London

Dr Yinhua Zhou , Research Associate, Department of Political Economy, King’s College London

Ms Saheli Datta , Research Coordinator and PhD Researcher, Department of Political Economy and King's India Institute, King’s College London


Visiting Fellows

Dr Vincenzo Pavone , Department of Political Economy, King’s College London

Dr Maki Umemura , Lecturer, Cardiff Business School

Dr. Pierre Delvenne,  Department of STS, Université de Liège

Dr Edison Bicudo, University of sao Paolo.
Innovation in biomedicine is a global enterprise with an increasingly important contribution being made by the Rising Powers, especially China and India. The crucial importance accorded to biomedicine amongst the core contemporary concerns of the Rising Power governments as well as that of the UK cannot be doubted. Emerging innovations in biomedicine internationally hold the promise of significant impact on global public health, healthcare systems and economic restructuring. However, the policy directions and institutional configurations for fully exploiting the scientific and innovation efforts on the global stage are currently unclear and unstable. National and international innovation in biomedicine challenges conventional modes of governance, including industry structures, sector organisation, and geographical locations. 

As governments search for ways of fostering innovation, so they are obliged to recognise that governance intervention at the level of the individual state is but one component in the political equation that needs to be matched by policies that deal with the international character of biomedical innovation. The complexity of biomedical innovation is a product not only of the global character of the governance domains in question but also of its opaque nature. For novel fields of biomedicine, the knowledge production process from the basic science, through clinical experimentation and trials, to the therapeutic product is long, arduous and uncertain. At all stages in that process, there exists a potential triangle of tensions between science, society and the market: the science may prove to be inadequate, society unsympathetic or the market uninterested. In terms of our understanding of this process, there is at present no single area of social science that can lay exclusive claim to the analysis of the governance problem faced by states concerned with the promotion of biomedical innovation.

Publications and Working Papers 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43 and 44

Rising Powers at The University of Manchester

In May 2014, Professor Brian Salter presented the Rising Powers Research at the University of Manchester. Watch a video of Brian speaking about the project below:


Other Research Projects

Our projects focus on the governance issues associated with global innovation in biomedicine in terms of theory development, new academic and policy network formation, and national and international empirical studies.

Other projects in the Global Biopolitics Research Centre:

  • PATH project
  • Experimental Workers of the World
  • Euro Gentest
  • Past Projects

MORE Info on the centre

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