Professor Michael Parker

michael parker

B.Ed West Eng, MA status Oxf, PhD Hull

Departmental Profile

Professor Michael Parker

Director of the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities; Director of the Ethox Centre at the University of Oxford


Research Interests:

Michael Parker is Director of the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities and Director of the Ethox Centre at the University of Oxford.

The Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities conducts research on the ethical challenges that are posed by advances in neuroscience, data science, genomics and global connectedness, and by their convergence. Through its activities, the Centre aims to lead debate on the ethical requirements for 21st Century scientific research and to develop an ethics that is capable of both improving health and health care, and promoting and sustaining public trust and confidence. The Centre is supported by a Wellcome Centre Grant (203132).

Ethox is a multidisciplinary bioethics research Centre that aims to improve ethical standards in healthcare practice and in medical research through education, research, and the provision of ethics support to health professionals and researchers. Ethox aims in all its activities to be close to practice and to engage with ethical issues faced by real world actors in real world settings. Its research focusses on four areas: global health ethics, population health ethics, research ethics, and clinical ethics.

Michael’s own research interests are in the ethics of collaborative global health research, the uses of data-science in population health, and the clinical uses of genomics.

Together with partners at the Wellcome Trust Major Overseas Programmes (MOPs) in Vietnam, Malawi, Thailand-Laos, Kenya, and South Africa, Michael co-ordinates the Global Health Bioethics Network, which is designed to encourage and promote ethical reflection, carry out ethics research, and build ethics capacity across the MOPs. The Network is supported by a Wellcome Strategic Award (096527). Michael also leads the ethics programme of the Malaria Genomic Epidemiology Network (MalariaGEN), which carries out genomic research into severe malaria in childhood at 24 sites in 21 countries. 

Michael is the Chair of the Genomics England Ethics Advisory Committee and a non-executive director of Genomics England, which is charged with implementing the UK’s 100,000 Genomes Project. Since 2001, with Anneke Lucassen, Tara Clancy, and Angus Clarke he has coordinated the Genethics Club, a national ethics forum in the United Kingdom in which health professionals and genetics laboratory staff meet to discuss the ethical issues arising in their day-to-day practice and to share good practice. This work has been published as Parker, M. Ethical Problems and Genetics Practice (Cambridge University Press, 2012).



Work related to COVID-19

Professor Parker has published research demonstrating that widespread use of a contact-tracing app could help mitigate the COVID-19 crisis. His work influenced the development of the NHS COVID-19 App. Updates on his research will be posted here.