Research Associate in Law and Blockchain for Healthcare

University of Birmingham - School of Law within the College of Arts and Law

Full Time, Fixed term until 30 June 2019

Grade 7 – Full time starting salary is normally in the range £29,799 to £38,832. With potential progression once in post to £41,212 a year.

The University of Birmingham seeks a research associate to support Prof Karen Yeung’s work on a Wellcome Trust funded project on ‘Regulating healthcare through blockchain: Mapping the legal, ethical, technical and governance challenges'.

This project seeks to identify, map and examine the implications of utilising ‘blockchain’ technology in healthcare. In particular, it seeks to identify and critically assess the legal, ethical, technical and governance opportunities, risks and challenges in utilising blockchain technologies in healthcare in (a) securing compliance with regulatory goals, and (b) protecting fundamental values.

The associate will manage and undertake the project’s core research, taking lead responsibility for ensuring its efficient and effective progress through to completion. This will include critically assessing the potential of distributed ledger (‘blockchain’) technologies in the healthcare context.

Main duties

  • Identify, map and monitor current and future developments in blockchain technology and applications;
  • Critically analyse these technologies and applications in healthcare contexts, worldwide and in the UK;
  • Identify key stakeholders, organise and lead stakeholder meetings and workshops, and undertake associated administrative tasks;
  • Undertake literature reviews across several disciplines to identify and critically evaluate the nature and range of the problems which blockchain technologies in healthcare are intended to address, identifying any further problems, risks and challenges that blockchain-based solutions might generate;
  • Catalogue and compare the (types of) stakeholders involved in these applications, describe and assess their formal and informal governance structures, and map the incentives structures that ensure the provision of key resources;
  • Critically assess the implications of blockchain applications in healthcare for core values that are considered fundamental to the provision of lawful, high quality and ethically sensitive medical care and healthcare services;
  • Analyse the emerging findings and results and build a coherent framework for evaluating the legal, ethical, and governance risks, opportunities and challenges of utilising blockchain technology in healthcare contexts;
  • Contribute to the development of research methodology and infrastructure;
  • Present research outputs, including contributing to the drafting of academic publications;
  • Plan and attend project-relevant meetings;
  • Monitor and maintain account of project expenditure where required; and
  • Ensure compliance with research ethics, data protection and data sharing standards

Skills and Experience


  • A multidisciplinary background with training and/or experience in working within Law and any one of the following disciplines:
    • Sociology;
    • Computer Science
    • Medical Ethics
    • Political Science and/or Public Policy (broadly defined), preferably with a special focus on medical and scientific research and innovation, the history of medicine/science or science and technology studies;

Highly desirable:

  • Demonstrated qualitative legal research and multi-disciplinary research skills, preferably with interest and/or experience in medical and healthcare contexts;
  • Experience or interest in multidisciplinary research;
  • A demonstrated track record of high quality analytic and academic writing skills;
  • Experience or demonstrated interest in contributing to the relevant policy debates;
  • Fluency in English;
  • Demonstrable organizational and communicative skills;
  • Willingness to attract external funding for research projects;
  • Independence, reliability, autonomy

Informal enquiries should be directed to Professor Karen Yeung at:

Valuing excellence; sustaining investment

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Midlands of England