The Council is a deliberative body.

The main role of the Council is to consider questions of strategic direction, topic identification, review of ongoing work and overseeing the range and quality of outputs and activities. The Council critically reviews the work of working groups at key stages during the projects, so as to ultimately adopt the final outputs and reports. Find out more about how the Council works.

Download a register of Council members’ interests.

David Archard


David Archard was appointed Chair of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics in 2017. He is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, Queen’s University Belfast. He has published extensively in applied ethics, moral and political philosophy, and jurisprudence. He authored Children: Rights and Childhood, widely regarded as the first book to offer a detailed philosophical examination of children’s rights. Between 2005 and 2016 he was a Member of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, and latterly its Deputy Chair. He is also currently a member of the Clinical Ethics Committee of the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children, and is Honorary Vice-President of the Society for Applied Philosophy.

Simon Burall

Simon is a Senior Associate of Involve. He has extensive experience in the fields of public participation, accountability and transparency, scientific and technology innovation and organisational change. He has worked at the local and national level in Africa, Asia, and Europe. His current focus is on developing more effective ways for citizens to be involved in the development and application of technological innovations. Simon is a Fellow WWF UK and Programme Director for Sciencewise.

Victoria Butler-Cole

Victoria Butler-Cole QC is a barrister at 39 Essex Chambers where she specialises in health and social care law including the law of mental capacity.

Carol Brayne

Carol Brayne CBE is a Professor of Public Health Medicine and Director of the Cambridge Institute of Public Health in the University of Cambridge. Her research focus has been longitudinal studies focusing on brain ageing and dementia, studies that contribute to national and international policy development. She has led research on Ethical, Legal and Social Implications around diagnostic testing and availability. She is a member and chair of scientific advisory boards, Royal College and Charity Committees.

Melanie Challenger

Melanie is a writer and researcher, across environmental history and philosophy. Her books include ‘On Extinction’, and the forthcoming ‘How To Be Animal’. She publishes and presents ideas that bring together environmental ethics, bioethics, and natural history. Melanie also works in the creative arts, and is a frequent collaborator with composer Mark Simpson. Their first opera, ‘Pleasure’, starring Lesley Garret, toured with Opera North, Royal Opera, and Aldeburgh Music in 2016.

Clare Chambers

Clare is Reader in Political Philosophy and a Fellow of Jesus College, University of Cambridge. She is the author of Against Marriage: An Egalitarian Defence of the Marriage-Free State; Sex, Culture, and Justice: The Limits of Choice; Teach Yourself Political Philosophy: A Complete Introduction (with Phil Parvin, Hodder); and numerous articles and chapters on feminist and liberal political philosophy. She currently holds a Major Research Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust to work on a project titled Intact: The Unmodified Body.

Tara Clancy

Tara Clancy is a Consultant Registered Genetic Counsellor (GCRB 190) and Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine. Her main clinical and research interests are cancer genetics and ethical, legal and psychosocial issues in genetics. She is Chair of a University of Manchester Research Ethics Committee, and is on the Steering Group of the UK’s Genethics Club.

John Coggon

John is Professor of Law in the Centre for Health, Law, and Society, at the University of Bristol Law School. His research combines legal analysis with approaches from moral and political theory; especially in the contexts of mental capacity law and public health ethics and law. He is a member of the ethics committees of the BMJ and the UK Faculty of Public Health.

John Dupré

John is Professor of the philosophy of science at the University of Exeter and the Director of Egenis, the Centre for the Study of Life Sciences (formerly the ESRC Centre for Genomics in Society). He is the Chair of the working group on genome editing and farmed animals.

Frances Flinter

Frances is Emeritus Professor of Clinical Genetics at Guy’s & St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust, where she was also the Caldicott Guardian for 12 years. Her special interests include pre-implantation genetic diagnosis and inherited kidney diseases. She previously served on the Human Genetics Commission, and was the elected President of the Clinical Genetics Society from 2009-11. Frances was a member of the Council’s Working Party on mitochondrial replacement therapies.

Elaine Gadd

Elaine is a former Consultant Psychiatrist, with extensive experience in national and international bioethics policy. Working at the Department of Health, she contributed to bioethical policy development on a wide range of issues. She led bioethical negotiations for the UK in the Council of Europe, UNESCO and the United Nations and has chaired the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee on Bioethics. She now has a judicial role in the First-tier Tribunal.

Anne Kerr

Anne is Professor of Sociology and Head of the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Glasgow. She has a background in Science and Technology Studies and Medical Sociology, researching professional, patient and public encounters with innovative health technologies, including assisted conception, reproductive genetics, regenerative medicine, and genomic medicine for cancer. She has written widely on her research with colleagues from across the social and bio-sciences, focusing on how patients, researchers and clinicians craft the opportunities and risks of biomedicine.

Shaun Pattinson

Deputy Chair

Shaun Pattinson is Professor of Medical Law and Ethics at Durham University. His written scholarship spans a wide range of topics within law and bioethics, and includes two monographs and a leading textbook on Medical Law and Ethics (now in its 5th edition). He is Deputy Chair of the Council, Chair of the Council’s Horizon Scanning Advisory Group and was a member of the Council’s working group on non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT).

Michael Reiss

Michael is Professor of Science Education at UCL Institute of Education, a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and a Priest in the Church of England. He was a member of the Farm Animal Welfare Council/Committee (2004-12), Director of Education at the Royal Society (2006-08), a member of the GM Science Review Panel (2002-04), Specialist Advisor to the House of Lords Select Committee on Animals in Scientific Procedures (2001-02) and Chair of EuropaBio’s External Advisory Group on Ethics (2000-01).

Mehrunisha Suleman

Mehrunisha is a post-doctoral researcher at the Centre of Islamic Studies, University of Cambridge. Her research involves an ethical analysis of the experiences of end of life care services in the UK from Muslim perspectives. She is an expert for UNESCO’s Ethics Teacher Training Programme and was awarded the 2017 National Ibn Sina Muslim News Award for health. She has an ‘Alimiyyah degree in traditional Islamic studies, which she was given under the supervision of Shaykh Akram Nadwi at Al Salam Institute in 2013.

Susan Tansey

Susan is an independent Consultant Pharmaceutical Physician working with small and medium sized companies in the pharmaceutical industry. She trained in paediatrics and neonatology in the NHS, but having an interest in clinical research she joined the pharmaceutical industry in 1998. Since then she has been involved in the clinical development of new medicines in several therapeutic areas. She was a member of the Council’s working party on Children and Clinical Research.

Christine Watson

Christine Watson is Professor of Cell and Cancer Biology in the Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge and a Vice-Principal of Newnham College. Her research is focussed on understanding the molecular genetics of normal breast development and using these insights to develop new approaches for treating breast cancer. She has an interest in science communication and the ethical implications of biological research.