April 2021 Newsletter

Blue banner image showing the UK Pandemic Ethics logo alongside the heading Newsletter April 2021

Welcome to the first edition of the bimonthly UK Pandemic Ethics Accelerator newsletter which sees the launch of our new website and highlights some of the key recent and forthcoming outputs.

The UK Pandemic Ethics Accelerator is a new £1.4M initiative that harnesses and mobilises the UK’s internationally renowned expertise in ethics research. We are funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as part of the UK Research and Innovation rapid response to covid-19.

The Accelerator provides rapid evidence, guidance and critical analysis helping to improve decision-making in response to this evolving pandemic. It is a collaboration between four UK Universities and the Nuffield Council on Bioethics.

Professor Ilina Singh from the University of Oxford is the Accelerator’s Principal Investigator. Our Co-Investigators are Professor John Coggon from the University of Bristol; Dr Sarah Chan and Professor Sarah Cunningham-Burley from the University of Edinburgh; Professors Dominic Wilkinson and Julian Savulescu from the University of Oxford; Dr Melanie Smallman and Professor James Wilson from University College London; and Hugh Whittall from the Nuffield Council on Bioethics.

More information is in our press release.

Our recent and forthcoming work

We have produced numerous outputs since the initiative began in January. For example – as well as publications in Research Fortnight on vaccine passports, the Journal of Medical Ethics on lateral flow testing, the Conversation on vaccine hesitancy, and elsewhere – Accelerator colleagues have contributed to the Cabinet Office Review of vaccine certification.

We have also actively engaged with the media. For example, Dr Sarah Chan and Professor Dominic Wilkinson discussed vaccine passports on the Today programme on 20 February. Our first two Rapid Review publications are due to be published later this month:

  • Public health, ethics, and policy strategies to tackle overweight and obesity issues in light of the covid-19 pandemic, by Professor John Coggon (University of Bristol)
  • Ethical considerations in mitigating social disparities in covid-19 vaccine distribution and uptake, by Dr Alex McKeown (University of Oxford).

New website

Our new website launched today highlights our library of outputs which will be continually updated. It also describes the key themes for the Accelerator’s work and the colleagues contributing to each of them.

  • Data use: ethical challenges from large scale data collection, access and use
  • Foresight: current ethical challenges and preparedness for future crises
  • Prioritisation: the values informing access to resources such as vaccines
  • Public health and health inequalities: identifying values and ethical challenges to inform equitable policy and practice
  • Public values, transparency and governance: analysing attitudes and engagements to inform policy-making.

Work with us

We have a small budget to commission research contributions for publication. If you would like to be considered, please share your proposals via our website or ukpandemicethics@psych.ox.ac.uk.

We are also keen to collaborate with colleagues from the national and international ethics community on our outputs. Please contact us with your ideas as above.

What do you think are the burning topics for our rapid review publications or more detailed ethical analysis? Please contact us with your thoughts as above or via Twitter. Many thanks for those who have done so already.

Sign up and share

Please pass on this newsletter or this link to colleagues you think will be interested in our work to encourage them to sign up. We will provide regular updates on our work on Twitter so please follow us here.

We would love to hear your feedback on the content of this newsletter so please share your thoughts with us here.