Centre research

Previous Research Projects and Grants

AHRC Networking grant (Jan 2015 - July 2016) The changing requirements of beauty: Concepts, norms and regulations. £32,287

PI Heather Widdows, Co-I Jean McHale (University of Birmingham, Law), partner Nuffield Council on Bioethics.

Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship (Oct 2014 - Oct 2016) Perfect Me! £94, 224

The Major Research Fellowship allowed Heather Widdows to write her book, Perfect Me. ‘Perfect me!’ can be read in a number of ways: as an individual’s aspiration to perfect themselves (‘I want to be perfect’), as assertion of what being perfect is (‘this is what I would be if I were perfect’), and as a command which a woman feels she should obey (‘you should be perfect’). Heather argues that beauty is functioning as an ethical ideal, that it is dominant, demanding and global.

ESRC Nuclear Ethics and Global Security: Reforming the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime (Oct 2014 - Oct 2016) £249,965.21

PI is Professor Wheeler(University of Birmingham, Politics), Co-I Heather Widdows.

Welcome Trust Small Grant in Ethics and Society (Jan-April 2013)

The project is entitled “Moral Responsibility and Psychopathology”. Outputs of this project will include an interdisciplinary workshop to be held in Birmingham on 21 March 2013.

TISS.EU (Evaluation of Legislation and Related Guidelines on the Procurement, Storage and Transfer of Human Tissues and Cells in the European Union – an Evidence-Based Impact Analysis) EC-funded

Heather Widdows was Co-applicant. The project was lead by the Department for Ethics and History of Medicine, University of Goettingen, Germany. Other co-applicants were the Medical Law and Bioethics Group, Institute for German and European Private and Commercial Law, University of Hanover, Germany; Stockholm Bioethics Centre, Stockholm University, Sweden; Center for Ethics and Law in Biomedicine, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary; Fondazione Lanza, Padova, Italy; Forensic & Legal Medicine, School of Medicine and Medical Science, National University of Ireland, Dublin; Centre de Recherche Droit, Sciences et Techniques, Université Paris 1, France; Institute of Bio-Law “Legal Pathways”, Aerdenhout, Netherlands; and Dept. of Medical History and Ethics, Vilnius University, Lithuania Payment to Birmingham €59 765. 


was a three-year Collaborative Research Project under the European Union Framework 7 Security programme to co-ordinate and contribute work on detection technologies, counter-terrorism, ethics and human rights. The partner institutions involved were: Abo Academy University (Finland); University of  Birmingham—coordinator (UK); Danish Institute for Human Rights; European University Institute (Italy); the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights; Nottingham University (UK) and the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Lund (Sweden).

Ethics and the War on Terror ESRC-funded seminar series

(Oct 2006 – March 2010). Heather Widdows co-organised this with Dr Gillian Youngs (University of Leicester) and Professor Simon Caney (University of Oxford). Total £14 878

Religions and Development

DIFD funded (March 2005 – 2010). The project was led by Professor Carole Rakodi, International Development Department. A large scale programme consisting of a number of connected projects involving departments from across the University (including those of International Development, Theology and Education) and with UK and international partners from across Asia and Africa. Heather Widdows ran the ‘concept project’ cross-cutting theme of the programme. Total £3.5m

AHRC Shared Residence Research Network (SRRN)

In collaboration with Centre for Biomedical Ethics (CMBE) the Network will run from September 2010 to August 2012. £46,211k PI: Prof. Heather Draper; Co-I Dr Alex Masardo (CSGE).

NEWR (Network of European Women’s Rights) EC-funded

(Oct 2002 – 2005). Heather Widdows co-lead this project which established a thematic network on European Women’s rights in the themes of trafficking, reproductive rights, political participation and citizenship and social rights. The project was a consortium of ten partners (from Bulgaria, Finland, Germany, Greece, Latvia, the Netherlands, Italy, and Spain) and it employed a post-doctoral research fellow and project administrator at Birmingham University. Total €799 975.


Innovation Voucher scheme research for Ethics Online
August 2010. £3k.

PropEur (Property Regulation in European Science, Ethics and Law)

EC-funded under the Science in Society programme (Jan 2004 – Jan 2007).

Heather Widdows was Principal Investigator of this project which compiled and analysed approaches in ethics and law to tangible and intangible property in the four themes of the human genome, human tissue, plant genomes in relation to biodiversity and sustainable development and the information society. It considered the ethical and legal status of current and alternative models of governance in these themes.

Running the project involved managing a consortium of eight partners from academic institutions across Europe (from Bulgaria, Germany, France, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and the UK) and the employment and management of three post-doctoral research fellows at Birmingham University. Total €780 000.