Postdoctoral Research Fellow - Law

Country: USA;

Deadline: 14.06.2019



Job Purpose

We are now recruiting a Postdoctoral Research Fellow to work on an exciting research project titled Everyday Cyborgs 2.0: Law's Boundary-work & Alternative Legal Futures. There will be three Postdoctoral Research Fellows on the project, with another also being recruited in the current round and the third to be recruited in Autumn 2020.

Everyday cyborgs 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 wifi capabilities. They collect, analyse, and transmit data. Because the law takes a bounded approach to person and objects, the integration of medical devices with persons creates unexpected practical, conceptual, and normative problems. This project, funded by the Wellcome Trust, 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.

Unanswered questions include:

  • Should internal medical devices which keep the person alive be viewed as part of the person or mere objects (or something else)?;
  • Is damage to neuro-prostheses personal injury or damage to property?;
  • Who ought to control/own the software in implanted medical devices?; and
  • How should the law deal with risks around unauthorised third party access and hacking?

Building on preliminary research, the project team will answer such questions, using written documents, interviews, and focus groups to better understand the challenges, and test a series of imagined legal futures to assess what is practically possible and suggest solutions. The project will investigate where and why boundaries occur, examine what the pitfalls and opportunities are when these are transgressed and dissolved, and go beyond the bounded selves conception of persons to develop a novel account of the everyday cyborg in law. The research will draw on literatures and methods from a range of disciplines, including law and policy, regulatory and governance studies, political theory, philosophy, sociology, and science and technology studies.

This post is offered for five years, starting on 1st September 2019. The person appointed may draw from any number of disciplines (e.g. law, political science, philosophy, STS, etc.), but will have a strong background working within law and with legal materials, as well as experience of regulatory theory/governance studies. The Fellow will focus mainly on the conceptual and normative components of the project.

They will be expected to initiate and conduct original research, plan and coordinate research activities and programmes, publish the results of the research, supervise PhD students, and contribute to knowledge transfer, public engagement, or similar activities.

Candidates are expected to have a higher degree relevant to the research area or equivalent qualifications. An ability to work across disciplinary boundaries will be a distinct advantage.

More information on the role, along with the expected duties and responsibilities, is available on the attached person specification form.

Person Specification

  • Good first degree and a PhD (or equivalent experience). These can be in any number of relevant disciplines: e.g. law, political science, philosophy, science and technology studies, but applicants must have a demonstrated ability to work effectively, and to a level suitable for the project, within law and with legal materials.
  • Demonstrable research experience/track record relevant to the project or close cognate areas.
  • Particular experience of, and an interest in, research regarding the human body and/or medical devices will be an advantage.
  • Broad experience of, and an interest in, regulatory theory and governance studies.
  • Experience working with materials across multiple disciplines will be a distinct advantage.
  • High-level normative and conceptual analytical capability.
  • Demonstrated ability to publish in high quality academic journals as appropriate to candidate's discipline.
  • Ability to work independently and under supervision.
  • Ability to prioritise workload and work to deadlines.
  • Ability to communicate complex information clearly.
  • Ability to assess resource requirements and use resources effectively.
  • Understanding of and ability to contribute to broader management/administration processes in pursuit of the aims and objectives of the project.
  • Contribute to the planning and organising of the project's research programme and other research activities as directed by the PI.
  • Co-ordinate own work with others to avoid conflict or duplication of effort

Potential applicants should contact the project's Principal Investigator Muireann Quigley ( ) before applying to find out more about the project. 


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