Dr Laura Williamson is Senior Research Fellow(Health Ethics)within the Institute for
Applied Health Research at GCU. 

Laura moved to GCU in 2009 from the University of Glasgow where she worked (2001 – 2009)
in the Institute for Law and Ethics in Medicine, School of Law. She has conducted
research on a range of issues related to health policy and practice. In 2004, she
co-authored a report commissioned by the Department of Health (London) on the
ethico-legal challenges associated with animal-to-human transplantation. This work was
published as a monograph in 2005. She then undertook work on life and death
decision-making in the context of disability for the Disability Rights Commission
(London). This research was published as a co-authored monograph in 2007. Laura has also
conducted research on ethico-legal decision-making in health care for NHS Highland and
the Wellcome Trust. 

While at the University of Glasgow Laura was awarded a Wellcome Trust Research Fellowship
- a project that she later transferred to GCU. This work investigates ways to afford more
attention to the social dimensions of health in policy and practice. An output from the
project will be a monograph examining the role public philosophy can and should play in
addressing the social issues encountered in health policy. In addition, a key part of
Laura’s work is developing ways to engage and retain the public and professionals in
debates on these issue. 

She is also developing multidisciplinary research initiatives in the field of substance
use and misuse; Laura has a particular interest in alcohol dependence. In 2007, she was
co-applicant of a research project funded by the British Academy that examined the
difficulties choice-led alcohol policy creates for those living with alcohol dependence.
Laura played a lead role in establishing the Substance Use and Misuse team within the
Institutes for Applied Health and Society and Social Justice Research at GCU. This
includes establishing and administrating an interdisciplinary seminar series from 2011. 

Laura has peer reviewed for the Arts and Humanities Research Council, The Wellcome Trust,
Cambridge University Press, the Journal of Medical Ethics, Alcohol and Alcoholism,
Clinical Ethics, Bioethics and the International Journal of Environmental Research and
Public Health. 

She is a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health, a member of the Society for the
Study of Addiction and an International Associate editor of Bioethical Inquiry. 


Impairment and Disability: Law and Ethics at the Beginning and End of Life (with Sheila Mclean) (2007)

This research monograph explores legislation intended to protect the interests of people with disabilities or...


Xenotransplantation: Law and Ethics (with Sheila Mclean) (2005)

Xenotransplantation can be seen as a commentary on both the UK and International reaction to...




Stigma as a Public Health Tool: Implications for Health Promotion and Citizen Involvement (with Betsy Thom, Geryy V. Stimson, and Alfred Uhl), International Journal of Drug Policy (2014)


Ethico-legal decision making in health care (with Sheila Mclean) (2004)

This report was published by NHS Highland (2004).


Law and ethics of xenotransplantation: bibliography and abstracts of key articles (with Sheila Mclean) (2003)

This report was published by the Department of Health, London (2003). Available to view online...


Research Projects

Is ‘end-of-life’ care more valuable? Measuring societal views using the new Q2S method (with Rachel Baker, Cam Donaldson, Jon Godwin, C Hutchinson, Helen Mason, and Job Van Excel), Medical Research Council £323,000 (2011)