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'Tracking inequality in India: the story of a pioneer'

last modified Jul 07, 2017 02:14 PM

Dr Poornima Paidipaty speaks to Research Horizons about her research on the history of data and the development of metrics to understand inequality

'Within the current Indian context, in which economic growth and rising inequality are once again at the centre of public debate, it has become all the more important to understand the history of data, how it is produced and what numbers really represent'.

The full article can be accessed here.

New platform on international energy governance

last modified Jan 13, 2017 02:42 PM

New Platform on International Energy Governance

Professor Vinuales and Dr Duvic-Paoli are delighted to announce the creation of a Platform on International Energy Governance that brings together world leading universities and research centres active in the field of international energy law and policy. It aims to serve as a network of excellence that fosters the conduct of research in unexplored areas of international energy governance. The creation of the Platform was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Philomathia Foundation.

The Platform brings together world leading universities and research centres active in the field of international energy law and policy. The main objective is to attract academics, including doctoral and post-doctoral researchers, interested in pursuing state of the art research on international energy governance. Further aims include to promote exchanges between member institutions and beyond; facilitate data sharing; and advance education by promoting the design of new courses.

In addition to the University of Cambridge, other member institutions are the Centre for International Environmental Studies at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva ;  the Centre for Energy Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy at the University of Dundee; the University of Oxford Faculty of Law; UCL Faculty of Laws; and Sciences Po Law School. For more information, see the Platform’s website:

Pedro Ramos Pinto on the inequality debates

last modified Sep 20, 2016 03:58 PM

Pedro Ramos Pinto, PI on the Philomathia project 'The measure of inequality: social knowledge in historical perspective', asks:

'Why has the debate on inequality come to the fore now, and why in such terms?'

The full article can accessed here: 

3rd annual Philomathia Symposium - Registration now open!

last modified Jul 26, 2016 02:42 PM

Body Politics: the dilemmas of regulating new technologies


Friday, 18 November 2016

Cripps Court, Magdalene College, Cambridge

Panels 9:30-17:00; Keynote 17:30


Please register via: 


The Philomathia Social Sciences Research Programme is committed to bringing together sciences and the social sciences in order to inform policy debate.  This year’s Symposium follows the successful event in 2015 when we asked ‘What sort of world will we leave our grandchildren?’ This year we turn to ‘Body Politics’.       

Society is facing major challenges as advances in bio-medical technologies pose fundamental philosophical, ethical, legal and political questions. Who directs investment in the search for new technologies, and who has ownership and control of them?  How are they regulated, and how are decisions about their use formulated? This Symposium brings together social scientists with scientists in order to engage with major issues of policy. Should the law allow patenting of DNA or not? What are the implications of intervention to rectify ‘errors’ in DNA? What are the implications of a shift to individualised treatment based on analysis of the patient’s DNA?  These questions intersect with intervention in reproduction, both to assist infertile couples to have children, and to deal with genetic disease. What are the limits of intervention, and who should make the decisions?  And how should the shortage of organs for transplant be overcome? Should there be a presumption that organs are donated unless an individual opts out? How should surgeons balance the risk of using suboptimal organs against the risk of death? 

The Symposium will address three themes – the law of DNA patents, family planning, and sub-optimal organ transplants – and conclude with a policy roundtable and a plenary lecture.  The University of Cambridge has been at the forefront of development in bio-medical science in all of these areas, and this Symposium aims to enter into dialogue with social scientists and to reflect on the implications for policy.

We will have three panels under the following headings followed by a policy roundtable and keynote lecture:

Should we change EU law to disallow DNA patents? Contributors include Dr John Bradley, Professor Timo Minssen and Professor Mateo Aboy

Family planning in the era of changing fertility: Contributors include Professor Sarah Franklin and Sarah Norcross

The need for the transplantation of suboptimal organs: Contributors include Dr Kourosh Saeb-Parsy and Dr Matthew Dyson

Policy roundtable: Contributors include Sir Roy Calne, Professor Michael Parker and Sally Cheshire.

Keynote speaker: Professor Sheila Jasanoff, Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies, Harvard University

Each chaired session will consist of three 10-15 minute talks followed by a panel discussion which will then be opened up to the floor.


*Booking is free, but essential.

Registration can be made via: no later than Friday, 2 September. Please do register even if you’re only able to attend part of the day.

Wellcome Trust support for Forum 2016

last modified Feb 15, 2016 12:15 PM

The Philomathia programme is pleased to announce that the Wellcome Trust's Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF) will match-fund this year's Forum workshops. ISSF

'The ISSF provides support for UK universities to invest in strategic areas of science, the humanities and social science where they consider there are opportunities and unmet needs'. For more about the Fund, click here.


Forum 2016 - workshops announced

last modified Nov 06, 2015 10:53 AM

The Philomathia programme is pleased to announce that the following sessions have been selected to collaborate with Forum 2016:

  • 'Legal regulation of transplanting sub-optimal organs' - Lead convenor: Mr Kourosh Saeb-Parsy (Department of Surgery)
  • 'Realising genomic medicine: interrogating specific intellectual property issues' - Lead convenors: Dr Kathy Liddell (Faculty of Law) and Dr John Liddicoat (Faculty of Law)
  • 'Changing fertility: social, demographic and ethical consequences of assisted conception technologies' - Lead convenor: Professor Sarah Franklin (Department of Sociology)

Details of these events will follow in due course. For more information on the Philomathia Forum, visit

Now inviting proposals for Forum 2016

last modified Sep 07, 2015 02:00 PM

The third annual Philomathia Symposium will take place in September 2016 in Cambridge. The Symposium brings together academics, the public and policymakers to address contemporary societal challenges, supporting the initiatives of the Philomathia Social Sciences Research Programme.

Each annual Symposium represents the culmination of a year’s worth of interdisciplinary conversations that begin first in the Philomathia Forum – a series of individual workshops that link topically to the Symposium’s theme. It is our hope that the fora generate debate and raise questions that can directly inform the Programme’s primary research.

For the academic year 2015-16, the Forum will provide funding for up to four sessions that aim to interrogate the public policy implications of interdisciplinary research in the biological sciences, medicine, ethics and the social sciences. In addition, small grants may be available for ancillary research assistance or small-scale projects arising from the Forum. We will be interested to engage with those leading Forum sessions over proceedings of the session, follow-up research and publicity.

Proposals are now invited from researchers in all disciplines, for Forum sessions to be held between December 2015 and July 2016; if you are interested in collaborating in this way, please contact Dr Kristen Klebba via for more details. Proposals should be received by close of business on 22 October 2015.

Philomathia Symposium 2015

last modified Jul 31, 2015 03:01 PM

The second Philomathia Symposium will be held on 8 December 2015 at Magdalene College, Cambridge. Keynote speaker Professor Robert Putnam will join a distinguished set of panellists to explore this year's topic: 'What world will we leave our grandchildren?'


Further details will be announced through the Philomathia Forum.

New Philomathia projects announced

last modified Jul 31, 2015 02:58 PM

We are pleased to announce the addition of two new projects to the Philomathia series.

The Department of Land Economy and the Judge Business School will co-host a project on 'The Law of Energy Transitions', led by Professor Jorge Vinuales. A new Philomathia Fellow will support this research, starting in October 2015.

A collaboration between the Faculty of Law and the Department of Medical Genetics will explore 'Realising Genomic Medicine: Intellectual Property Issues Beyond the Old DNA Patent Debates'. The project will be led by Dr Kathy Liddell and will be joined by a new Philomathia Fellow in October 2015.



Successful inaugural symposium for the Philomathia Forum

last modified Aug 06, 2014 02:54 PM

On 9 July 2014, the inaugural Philomathia Forum Symposium took place in the McGrath Centre, St. Catharine's College.  The event brought academics together with the goal of discussing how we might better achieve collaboration and cooperation between Social Sciences and the STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), with a particular focus on research which may influence and affect public policy.  

A report on the event is now available in the Philomathia Forum section of our site.

University of Cambridge signs funding agreement with Philomathia Foundation

last modified Jan 15, 2014 12:32 PM

In May 2013, the University of Cambridge entered into an agreement with the Philomathia Foundation.  The Philomathia Social Sciences Research Programme, created by the donation of more than one million pounds, will be overseen by the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences Research Committee.

The Programme will fund five post-doctoral Research Associates, working on topics in the area of Human Values and Distributive Justice, over the course of five years. It will establish the Philomathia Fund to provide seed activity around the Research Associates and pilot grants to kick-start research projects in the field of Human Values and Distributive Justice, Public Policy, and Quantitative Social Science over this period, and will create the Philomathia Forum, which will include a series of workshops and symposia to broaden the debate about fulfilling the aspirations of society, on fairness, and analysing the impact of different value systems on policy making.

Programme Logo

History of Wealth Project

This project, co-funded by the Philomathia Foundation and the Isaac Newton Trust, investigates the broader significance of wealth an inheritance in 19th and early-20th century Britain.

This programme was launched by POLIS in October 2013, and aims to train future policy-makers to value and promote evidence-based policies that can most benefit society.