PhD researcher, University of Birmingham

PhD researcher, University of Birmingham

PhD Researcher – Law (UK students only)

Closing date: 29 March 2021

We are seeking a talented and enthusiastic PhD researcher to join our interdisciplinary team based in Birmingham Law School. We are offering a fully funded three year PhD studentship which is available to start in September 2021. You will become an integral part of a friendly and supportive research team. Your research will be part of a broader interdisciplinary project being run by Professor Muireann Quigley. This project– Everyday Cyborgs 2.0: Law’s Boundary-work and Alternative Legal Futures – is focused on examining the practical, conceptual, and normative problems which arise when persons are joined with (increasingly smart) medical devices.

Everyday cyborgs (also called ‘integrated persons’) are persons with attached and implanted medical devices; e.g., joint replacements, pacemakers, insulin pumps, and limb prostheses. Increasingly, these devices are smart devices. They run software and have Wi-Fi capabilities. They collect, analyse, and transmit data. Because the law takes a bounded approach to persons and objects (considering something to be either a person or a thing, but not both), the integration of medical devices with persons creates unexpected practical, conceptual, and normative problems. The main Everyday Cyborgs project aims to tackle these by challenging law’s boundary-work and radically (re)imagining its approach to the assemblage of integrated persons and integrated goods.

We welcome PhD proposals within the remit of this project which focus on examining the conceptual and practical issues of regulating integrated persons and their increasingly complex medical devices. Proposals should outline how the research could contribute to the wider project. We particularly welcome proposals which can approach the research in the context of examining why and how boundaries and binaries regarding person and objects are constructed within law. Proposals should also outline how the PhD research could evaluate the pitfalls and opportunities of moving from a less object-focused to a more subject-focused legal approach to integrated persons.

As part of this, the successful applicant will be expected to (1) explore actual and possible constructions of persons, bodies, and selves within law, (2) look at everyday cyborg technologies in the context of these, and (3) examine how different visions of persons, bodies, and selves could impact on law, governance, and regulation with regards to attached and implanted medical devices. In addition to the broader landscape of common law rights, responsibilities, and liabilities, relevant avenues for investigation may include (but are not necessarily limited to) the regulation and governance of software, medical devices, intellectual property, and data.

The successful applicant will take an interdisciplinary approach to their research and analysis could be informed by insights from, for example, law, science and technology studies, philosophy and (bio)ethics, political science, and the social sciences. Other perspectives which broadly fit within the purview of the humanities and social sciences are also welcome.

For more information visit the Everyday Cyborgs website and find application details here

Before applying, prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the project’s Principal Investigator Professor Muireann Quigley.