Past Research Projects
Experimental Workers of the World
The role of human research workers in China and India
Funder: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Timeline: 2011- 2014
Investigators: Melinda Cooper at the Department of Sociology and Social Policy (University of Sydney, Australia)
Increasing numbers of the poor and uninsured in China and India enroll in multinational drug trials in exchange for money or access to healthcare. The situation of these experimental subjects resembles that of other low-wage service workers in the world's emerging economies. Developing the concept of experimental labour, this project will provide a grounded, deeply contextualized account of the role of these research subjects in the global innovation chains of drug development. It will offer significant new insights into the changing nature of work; the social costs of innovation economies; and the role of China and India in the global bioeconomy. It will rework the concepts that currently frame the field of human subject research.