An emotional history of face transplants

I am delighted to share the news that I have been awarded a Future Leaders Fellowship by UK Research and Innovation. This was announced on 7 May by the Science and Innovation Minister Chris Skidmore. You can read about the remit of the awards here and what they promise to bring to the future of UK research and innovation.

My project will create a new cultural framework by which we can understand the emotional and ethical impact of face transplants internationally - and in the UK. There have been close to 50 around the world, but none so far in the UK, despite the fact that the UK has long been a leader in facial reconstruction work, and in preparing the ground for face transplants.

You can find more details on the project here

UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships are a transformative stream of funding for people like me - who may have worked in a range of sectors, and at a senior level, but not followed a conventional career path. With up to seven years of research time, the scheme explicitly supports interdisciplinary thinking, which is important and unusual. While interdisciplinary research is seen as critical to international impact, disciplinary boundaries can make finding the right funding , and the right reviewers, a difficult process.

My project has a stellar advisory board that includes Mandana Seyfeddinipur, James Partridge, Richard Ashcroft, Alexandra Clarke, Antonia Cronin, Daniel Glaser, Ludmilla Jordanova, Anne Marie Rafferty, Nichola Rumsey and Manos Tsakiris. It will also include a range of brilliant collaborators from the fields of ethics, surgery, public engagement, literature, art, nursing and user groups.

Two Postdoctoral Research Associates will be working with me - Dr Stef Eastoe, who will be supporting the project’s public engagement outcomes, and an as yet unnamed other, who will be helping me interview extended surgical teams and patients. A job advert will be out as soon as possible.

I will use this blog to share news and developments while we work on the project website. Watch this space for events, activities and publications - here’s to a brilliant seven years!