Come to our iHuman Lunch Club!

Ihuman lunch club poster

12.00 – 13.00: 21st February 2017 ICOSS, University of Sheffield

Come and join us in ICO-4th Floor (Fourth floor meeting room, ICOSS) for an alternative lunch space in which you can engage in critical conversations with your peers over a bring-your-own packed lunch.


Wheelchair accessible venue. For any other access requirements, please email

Jan 2017: MHS / Insigneo / iHuman Seminar

Speaker: Klaus Hoeyer (University of Copenhagen)

Title: Post-Truth? Personalized medicine, data intensification and evidence in Danish healthcare

Date and time: 30th January, 2017  16:00 – 17:30

Location: Hicks Building,HI-LT07, University of Sheffield. For visitor information, please see here.


In high-income countries healthcare is currently undergoing intense data intensification. Interests in data are multiple and often competing, but everywhere policymakers, administrators and clinicians seem to agree on a need for more data, of better quality, on more people. One of the key claims of data-intensive medicine is that we are entering an era of personalized medicine that will provide prevention and treatment options tailored to the individual. On what do such claims build? Which initiatives are taken? What type of medicine is in the making? This presentation takes point of departure in on-going Danish developments and explores how data intensification involves demands for data use and in the process reconfigures notions of evidence, patienthood and responsibility.


Klaus Hoeyer is professor of medical science and technology studies at the University of Copenhagen. He has his background in anthropology and has among other things worked on ethics as a form of regulation, exchange systems for human body parts, and safety regulation in the European Union. He co-edited a volume on the anthropology of potentiality (with KS Taussig, Current Anthropology 2013) and is the author of Exchanging Human Bodily Material: Rethinking Bodies and Persons (Springer, 2013). He currently heads an ERC-funded project on intensified data sourcing in European healthcare.

Jan 2017: IHuman PhD Opportunities

Come and join us at the Institute for the Study of the Human (iHuman) within the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Sheffield to undertake innovative and transdisciplinary PhD study. Please see the information below, and see the full advertisement here. Information on the scholarship application process can be found here.


The University of Sheffield Faculty of Social Sciences has funding for at least 23 PhD scholarships for 2017/18 entry. These include Doctoral Academy scholarships, with further scholarships likely to be available through the ESRC White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership competition.

As home to some of the UK’s leading researchers, the Faculty of Social Sciences is renowned for its high-quality and high-impact research.

We work collaboratively with a range of partners in academia and industry, and carry out world class research that makes a difference. We are seeking ambitious, talented graduates or postgraduates to join us on our PhD scholarships.  Applicants should aspire to contribute to world-leading research and to make a difference in the world.

We strongly encourage interdisciplinary and collaborative PhD applications in the following broad areas:

  • Cities, Environment and Liveability
  • Security, Conflict and Justice
  • Education Childhood and Youth
  • Data, Communication and New Technologies
  • Wellbeing, Health and Communities
  • Sustainable Growth, Management and Economic Productivity
  • Civil Society, Development and Democracy

The deadline for scholarship applications is 5.00pm on 31st January 2017.  

December 2016: Science in Public 2017 comes to the University of Sheffield!

We are thrilled to be able to announce that iHuman’s very own Dr Warren Pearce has brought the next Science in Public conference to the University of Sheffield for 2017. We are beyond excited: this year’s theme centres the intersections of science, technology and humanity, all of which reach the core of iHuman as a space for transdisciplinary research that asks critical questions of what it means to be human in the 21st Century. You can access the call for papers below; please come and join us!

Science, Technology & Humanity

11th Annual Science in Public Conference

10th-12th July 2017, University of Sheffield. #SIPsheff17


Call for Open Panels

Submit your proposal by January 31st 2017 at

Science and technology are essential ingredients of our humanity. The emergence of fruitful and diverse scholarly perspectives on the history, practice, communication, governance and impacts of scientific knowledge reflects this fact. Yet rapid scientific and technological change has also unsettled the idea of what it means to be human; for example, through new frontiers in physical and cognitive enhancement, shift to knowledge economies, and potential threats to employment from mass automation. These changes take place in a context of broader challenges to expertise and evidence, dramatically illustrated by the EU referendum and the election of Donald Trump. Taking these matters seriously calls for a renewed focus on compassion, benevolence and civilization. This year at Science in Public, we ask:

How do science and technology affect what it means to be human?

We invite proposals for panels, debates, performances, films and other forms of dialogue or practice from a wide range of disciplines – including STS, history of science, science communication, sociology, law, disability studies, geography, urban studies, development studies – that reflect on this question across a range of topics including, but not limited to:

  • Law, governance and new technologies
  • Responsible research and innovation
  • Political economy of science and technology
  • Gender, science and technology
  • Science policy
  • History of science and technology
  • The citizen in science and technology
  • Race and postcoloniality
  • Dis/ability in science and technology
  • Social, political and scientific imaginaries
  • Science and technology in science fiction
  • Science, art and humanity
  • Public involvement in science and technology
  • Social media as (in)humane technology
  • Human enhancement
  • Robotics
  • Grand challenges to the future of humanity
  • Geographies of science and technology
  • Science and sustainability

Panels can be made up of one or a series of sessions. Each session will last 90 minutes. Sessions with papers will be limited to three papers per session only, in order to facilitate in-depth discussion and exchange of ideas. Panels can be proposed with papers and speakers and/or opened up as part of the subsequent Call for Papers (to be issued in February 2017).

Questions? Email


Speaker: Dr Gill Haddow, Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow: Society and Ethics, Science Technology and Innovation Studies, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh

When: Thursday 28 April 2016, 4pm-5pm
Where: Room 109, Elmfield Building, Northumberland Road

Biomedicine is increasingly reliant on cybernetic technology to increase the quantity of human life.  There is a lack of original research from the patient’s perspective about what adjusting to cybernetic technology actually means for the quality of life however.  Drawing on data from 21 semi-structured interviews with individuals about their experiences of having an implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) surgically inserted and the views of their significant others demonstrates becoming a cybernetic organism can be challenging partly due to the inevitable compromise to body integrity.  During the surgical implantation process, the skin is breached and the struggle to get the ICD into the visceral is virtually observed and experienced by the sedated patient. Once physical incorporation begins the everyday cyborg may adjust relationships with significant others to protect the site.  Accounts suggest a person can feel and be aware of a dormant ICD inside the body; the presence of such a cybernetic addition becomes more obvious when it activates to stop a heart arrhythmia. Eleven everyday cyborgs had experienced shocks.  Responses to dealing with the shocks can include depression to fault finding. A phenomenological and sociological approach to the experience of embodiment includes both the inside and the outside.  The ICD, in particular, sits in the ‘recessive’ semi-anonymous inner space but also stands out of the body affecting body image and possible identity through association with the heart condition.   Like its positon in the body of inside out; it also has a presence-absence that makes it important to reflect on the conceptual importance of integrity in line with image and identity; hence the Triad of I.


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Kate Weiner Receives Leverhulme Award for Research into the Use of Health Self-Monitoring Technologies – 11th February 2016

iHuman member Dr Kate Weiner has been awarded a prestigious, three-year Leverhulme award for a research project that will investigate how and why people use a range of technologies to self-monitor their health. There has been rapid growth in consumer technologies for self-monitoring and strong claims about their potential to revolutionise and redistribute responsibility for healthcare. Yet little is known about how people actually engage with these technologies, what self-monitoring means for them or how it is integrated with wider healthcare. To read more click here.

EASST 2016, Barcelona – 4th January 2016

We look forward to seeing some of you in our Open Track on ‘What does it mean to be Human in the 21st Century’ at 4S/EASST 2016, Barcelona.
This track brings together papers that consider understandings of what it means to be human in the 21st Century, how established notions are being remade in the light of new scientific and technological knowledge, and the formation of new politics, norms and imaginaries around future humans. Abstracts need to be submitted on the conference website.
What does it mean to be Human in the 21st Century?
New scientific knowledge of behaviour, cognition and sociality is challenging established ideas about the key characteristics that define us as human. In contrast to evolutionary discourses in the 1970s and 80’s of people being selfish, rational actors, contemporary biology is increasingly
constructing humans as altruistic, emotional and pro-social by nature. At the same time, new digital and biomedical technologies are reshaping the human body and enhancing physical capabilities and cognitive capacities. This has inspired novel imaginaries of technology enabled future humans and new utopian social movements, such as transhumanism. However, this focus on the perfectability of the body raises important questions about what is a ‘normal’ human.
Conceptually, such tensions are reflected in the debate between post-humanist narratives that decentre the human and blur the boundaries between humans, animals and machines, and transhumanist ideas that stress human uniqueness and superiority. Such disputes have important political and normative implications. This track seeks to bring together a range of empirical and conceptual papers that consider contemporary understanding of what it means to be human in the 21st Century, how established notions are being remade in the light of new scientific and technological knowledge, and the formation of new politics, norms and imaginaries around future humans. This might include work on: new knowledge production regarding the biology of altruism, (economic) decision making and sociality; human enhancement/ modification technologies; imagined human futures; disability and ableism; theories of post- and transhumanism; and new biologies (e.g. epigenetics and neuroplasticity).
Abstract submission is open on conference website:
Please bear in mind that the call for papers will be open from the 7th of December 2015 to the 21th of February 2016.

New guidance challenges myths on relationships for young people with life-limiting conditions – 9th December 2015

Assistance for supporting young people with life-threatening or life-limiting conditions who want to explore their sexuality and develop relationships is offered to practitioners in a new comprehensive guide co-authored by Dr Kirsty Liddiard from the Faculty and the iHuman.

Talking about Sex, Sexuality and Relationships: Guidance and Standards is published by The Open University in partnership with UK children’s palliative care charity Together for Short Lives and the OU Sexuality Alliance. The publication gives guidance and standards for health, social care and education practitioners who support young people with limited lifespans.

Guide cover

Read more here. 

World’s first anti-ageing drug could see humans live to 120 – 2nd December 2015

The world’s first anti-ageing drug will be tested on humans next year in trials which could see diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s consigned to distant memory.

Scientists now believe that it is possible to actually stop people growing old as quickly and help them live in good health well into their 110s and 120s.

Although it might seem like science fiction, researchers have already proven that the diabetes drug metformin extends the life of animals, and the Food and Drug Administration in the US has now given the go ahead for a trial to see if the same effects can be replicated in humans. Read more here.

Drugs in Sport and Human Enhancement – 16th November 2015

The report from the World Anti-Doping Agency couldn’t have been clearer. Russian athletes were involved in state sponsored cheating and the IAAF was involved in bribery and corruption. Admittedly it’s not exactly the stuff of Chariots of Fire, but what are the real moral boundaries that have been transgressed? If you think elite sport is all about individual talent and dedication you’re sadly mistaken. Top athletes in all sports are supported by multi-million pound programmes that ensure they get the best of everything – including scientists who maximise their nutrition and medical treatment. If you come from a country that can’t afford to pay for it, you’re already handicapped. And if your son or daughter is showing some sporting promise you better get them in to a private school quickly. Half the UK gold medal winners in 2012 were educated privately and the pattern is repeated in almost every sport outside football. Sport is many things, but fair is not one of them, so why single out performance enhancing drugs in sport when we positively embrace them in other aspects of our lives? Has anyone turned down Viagra because it might give them an unfair advantage? As science progresses the possibility of human enhancement is becoming an everyday reality. Drugs to enhance memory and attention and to enable us to be smarter? Why not? If this all sounds like some kind of dystopian nightmare don’t fret because there’s a growing interest in the field of bio-medical moral enhancement to make us better people as well. Human enhancement – physical and moral on the Moral Maze, but beware, listening could give you an unfair advantage. Combative, provocative and engaging debate chaired by Michael Buerk with Giles Fraser, Claire Fox, Melanie Phillips and Anne McElvoy. Witnesses are Ellis Cashmore, Martin Cross, Dr Rebecca Roache and Nigel Warburton. Listen to this fascinating episode of Radio 4’s Moral Maze here.

“Biohackers” Insert LEDs Into Their Hands – 9th November 2015

Transhumanism doesn’t just have its place in medicine and science – it also has its own aesthetic.

“Biohackers” have found a novel way to enhance their bodies with implantable technology. A group of people have had a “Northstar V1” chip , an LED disc about the size of a large coin, inserted inside their hands. When activated by a magnet, the LEDs light up. Click here to read more.

Brainy David Eagleman – 8th November 2015

Jarvis engages his grey matter for an interview with neuroscientist David Eagleman.

The best-selling author, who assisted Max Richter in the composition of the eight-hour lullaby Sleep, shares the sound and science behind thought processes, and memory, and also explains why teenagers find it so hard to get up in the morning. Click here to listen.

This Robot Will Let Kids In Hospital Explore Zoos Through Virtual Reality – 8th November 2015

A community called “Robots for Good” has come together to help kids stuck in Great Ormond Street Hospital in London visit the zoo. If the name hasn’t given it away, the project involves robots, but perhaps not in the way you might be thinking. Click here to keep reading. 

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