Current Collaborations

Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities

The Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities is based at the University of Oxford’s Big Data Institute. It is a collaboration between the Ethox Centre, the Oxford Neuroscience, Ethics and Society Group, the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, and the Wellcome Unit for History of Medicine. The Centre will conduct research on the challenges to ethics and the humanities presented by advances in neuroscience, big data, genomics and global connectedness and their convergence. The establishment of the new Centre responds to a pressing need for a robust and flexible multidisciplinary research platform in the ethics and related humanities capable of engaging successfully with new and profoundly difficult ethical and social challenges presented by the form, scale, scope and societal implications of these developments. Engaging successfully with such challenges requires a paradigm shift and a change of scale in approaches to ethics and the humanities more generally. The Centre will establish a robust research infrastructure to enable multi- disciplinary teams of medical scientists, bioethicists and researchers in the humanities and social sciences to engage with the complex ethical problems presented by developments in neuroscience, big data, genomics, and global connectedness. Through its research and engagement activities, the Centre aims to lead debate on the ethical requirements for 21st Century scientific research capable both of improving health and of commanding public trust and confidence. The Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities is funded by a Wellcome Centre Grant (203132).  Outputs/resources to follow.

Project Global Terrorism and Collective Moral Responsibility: Redesigning Military, Police and Intelligence Institutions in Liberal Democracies

Researcher (PI) Seumas Miller


Collective moral responsibility: International terrorism, such as Al Qaeda, and ISIS, is a major global security threat. Counter-terrorism is a morally complex enterprise involving police, military, intelligence agencies and non-security agencies. Counter-terrorism should be framed as a collective moral responsibility of governments, security institutions and citizens. 

Research questions: Miller’s research focuses on the following research questions: how is international terrorism to be conceptually demarcated? What is the required theoretical notion of collective moral responsibility? What counter-terrorist strategies and tactics are effective, morally acceptable and consistent with liberal democracy? How is this inchoate collective moral responsibility to be institutionally embedded in security agencies? 

More information here:


immunity and responsibility

The Oxford Martin Programme on Collective Responsibility for Infectious Disease: Bringing together zoology, history, philosophy, psychology and medicine, our four-year project addresses the central research question: What is the role of collective responsibility in the genesis of and appropriate response to the threat of infectious disease? Our principal aim is to generate disease-specific policy recommendations for collective action on influenza, malaria, antibiotic resistance and vaccine-preventable childhood infections.

We are involved in a collaborative project with Oxford Martin School's Programme on Mind and Machine. A key challenge for 21st century biology is to understand how the limited biophysical repertoire of individual neurons in the human brain gives rise to behaviour.The Programme on Mind and Machine will conduct research on manipulating the brain and its ethical implications.

The Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics is affiliated with two charities, Giving What We Can and 80, 000 Hours. The Centre strongly supports the vision and aims of these two charities. However, the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics does not have any financial or administrative responsibility or oversight for these charities which are run by staff and student volunteers working independently.

Past Collaborations

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The Institute for Science & Ethics participated in a £1.3m research project on Climate Geoengineering Governance funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). The work was led from the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, (InSIS), University of Oxford, and also involved the Science and Technology Policy Research (SPRU) at the University of Sussex and the Faculty of Laws at University College London (UCL). The project aimed to provide a timely basis for the governance of geoengineering through robust research on the ethical, legal, social and geopolitical implications of a range of geoengineering approaches.

Jointly with TU Delft University we were involved in an NWO funded project Enhancing Responsibility: the effects of cognitive enhancement on moral and legal responsibility . Might some professionals – e.g. surgeons, pilots and soldiers – have a responsibility to cognitively enhance themselves, and once enhanced might they acquire greater responsibilities? The project aims to shed new light on the relationship between responsibility and mental capacity, and help professional associations, law makers, regulators and judges develop appropriate principles

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