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Centre for Law, Medicine and Life Sciences

Faculty of Law


This talk will focus on the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications, which is one of the least studied and discussed human rights despite being set out in both the 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights and later in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Indeed, it is no surprise that the right to benefit from science was compared by William Schabas to the 'sleeping beauty' of human rights. In the current time of globalization, characterized by the rapid advancement of science and its technological applications, as well as by the increased flows of scientific and other data, however, there is a growing need to revisit if not awaken the right of everyone to enjoy the benefits of science. We will address this need by assessing what are the legal status, normative content and recent trends in the development of the right to benefit from science. We will then see whether the right has any implications for the access to ‘big data’ in the field of health and whether it poses any requirements in this respect. Finally, we will draw conclusions as to the potential and limitations of the right in addressing the scientific and technological challenges of big data in the future.

About the Speakers

Professor Bartha Knoppers studied law at the Cambridge Law Faculty (Trinity College) and is now an international authority on the legal and ethical issues surrounding genomic technology. A list of Professor Knoppers’ publications can be found here. Amongst other distinctions she is the Director of the Centre of Genomics and Policy, McGill University; the Canada Research Chair in Law and Medicine 2001; and the holder of Chaire d’excellence Pierre Fermat (France) (2006-2008).

Dr. Rumiana Yotova is College Lecturer in Law, and Director of Studies at Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge. A list of Dr. Yotova's publications can be found here. Dr. Yotova has also been Door Tenant at Thomas More Chambers since January 2017.

Wednesday, 24 May, 2017 - 16:30 to 19:00
Event location: 
Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, University of Cambridge