Areas of Focus

The Centre actively promote collaboration that bridges Global North/South divides; within academia and beyond, bringing in governments, civil society, journalists, the private sector, and other stakeholders, to discuss and tackle global health challenges. The Centre pays special attention to geopolitics, concerns of transparency and accountability, the impact of (neo)colonialism on global health, and populations often excluded from governance. In 2020-24 the Centre’s work will focus on five themes, while promoting collaboration across them in response to fast-changing events:

  • Technological innovation, access and finance
  • Outbreaks and epidemics
  • Global digital futures
  • Intimacy, sexuality and autonomy
  • Law, protection and control


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Global Health

Research Projects


Global politics, finance and rules shape what kinds of technologies are (or are not) developed, who does (or does not) get access to these technologies, and ultimately whose health is undermined or protected. The Centre is mapping and investigating new business models for pharmaceutical research and development that can improve access; researching current norms and gaps in the systems for international sharing of pathogens and benefits for outbreaks; studying the influence of financialisation on the development and pricing of pharmaceuticals; and building platforms to facilitate two-way flows of knowledge between the research and policy/practitioner communities.


The role of governance, politics and power in epidemic outbreaks is a cross-cutting interest for the Centre. For example, in response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Centre formed a working group of researchers from multiple disciplines to track daily developments in the outbreak and societal responses to it. They are examining research and development of new drugs, therapeutics and vaccines, and analysing challenges in access; monitoring compliance with international law; tracking trade and travel restrictions; analysing economic impacts of the outbreak; exploring potential future data-sharing and digital health opportunities; and identifying human rights threats in the response.


The future of global health is being shaped by the rapid growth and application of new digital technologies, artificial intelligence, and the role of data in decision-making. What new collaborations and governance approaches will be required? How might inequalities be reinforced or mitigated? What risks to privacy, autonomy and accountability do these tools introduce, and how can they be addressed? How might new digital technologies enhance community resilience? The Centre is supporting the co-creation of a neutral international platform to connect global inter-disciplinary research projects that promote responsible and inclusive artificial intelligence and digital technology for health; and exploring the convergence of digital health with universal health coverage to improve the health and well-being of children and young people.


Sexuality and sexual health are closely linked to power and politics. Sexual health, including reproductive options, remain politically contentious in most countries. Current projects include a multi-country collaborative study of transactional sex and sexual and reproductive health in displaced populations; a longitudinal study of reproductive choice and reproductive technologies in the UK; and research into infertility, inequality and reproductive technologies in the Global South.


The law plays a direct role in global health, as an instrument to promote rights, to control behaviour, and as the framework for global diplomacy. Tensions between empowerment, protection, control and criminalisation are central in global health disputes today. There are few international laws dedicated explicitly to health, but most international legal regimes have health implications. The Centre analyses legal instruments, their use and fragmentation in multiple issue areas impacting health; offers executive courses on health law, human rights and diplomacy; and conducts research, convening and education on the uses and misuses of law to regulate both psychoactive substances and people who use drugs.