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York scholar wins new Wellcome Trust award

A University of York academic is one of the first tranche of recipients of the Wellcome Trust’s new Investigator Awards in Medical Humanities, awarded to world-class scholars asking the most important questions at the interface of science, medicine and the humanities.

The awards cover medical history and humanities, and ethics and society, and the scheme builds on moves by the Wellcome Trust towards more expansive, longer-term research in the medical humanities.

The analysis my team will develop will be set within a longer history of decolonisation and the search for the provision of universal healthcare in the South Asian sub-continent

Dr Sanjoy Bhattacharya

At York, Dr Sanjoy Bhattacharya, of the Department of History, will analyse efforts in the 1970s and 1980s to increase health coverage and equity internationally: the global movement for Primary Health Care (PHC). The analysis comes as the World Health Organisation (WHO) is advocating a new global movement for PHC.

Dr Bhattacharya said: “This is an ideal time for the preparation of detailed, historically grounded, inter-disciplinary and independent studies of past and current chapters of the movement. The analysis my team will develop will be set within a longer history of decolonisation and the search for the provision of universal healthcare in the South Asian sub-continent."

Recipients of the first awards are researching topics that include the social and psychological impact of emerging assisted reproductive technologies; the technologies, ethics and programmes of tuberculosis control; and East Asian medicine in the past millennium.

Sir Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust, says: "We received a very high quality of applications for the new Wellcome Trust Investigator Awards in Medical Humanities and are delighted to be able to support such outstanding scholars across a wide range of research topics. The awards will provide flexible support to researchers across a broad range of institutions, allowing them to explore challenging questions in both ethics and medical history in its historical and cultural contexts."

The awards, which range from £700,000 to just over £1.26 million for up to five years, are made to scholars in established academic posts depending on their career history, ambition and vision and the resources required to realise this vision. The Awards are made to researchers at two levels - New Investigators and Senior Investigators - depending on their experience. They complement existing schemes, which support scholars in the medical humanities at all stages of their careers.

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