Courtney Davis
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Research interests (short)

Courtney is a medical and political sociologist with broad research interests in the intersections of science and technology policy, business regulation and public health. For over ten years she has undertaken empirically-based, policy relevant international comparative research investigating the socio-political, economic, cultural and scientific factors underlying trends in regulation and the implications of current techno-scientific standards for public, patient and worker health in relation to two distinct fields of inquiry: pharmaceuticals and occupational health and safety.

Research interests

Courtney is a medical and political sociologist with broad research interests in the intersections of science and technology policy, business regulation and public health. For over ten years she has undertaken empirically-based, policy relevant international comparative research investigating the socio-political, economic, cultural and scientific factors underlying trends in regulation and the implications of current techno-scientific standards for public, patient and worker health in relation to two distinct fields of inquiry: pharmaceuticals and occupational health and safety.

Between 1998 and 2007 Courtney worked on three large, ESRC-funded research projects investigating the regulation of drug safety, efficacy and innovation in the UK, the US and the supranational EU with Professor John Abraham as Principal Investigator. Taken together, these projects constitute a body of international comparative research on pharmaceuticals regulation which spans the entire period of modern drug regulation in these regions. Her work on drug safety withdrawals has achieved international recognition and was reviewed by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science in the United States during its ongoing investigation and assessment of current systems for ensuring drug safety post-marketing in the US.

Courtney is currently the Principal Investigator on a Wellcome Trust-funded project investigating cancer patient advocates’ attitudes towards, and engagement with, innovative drug development and regulatory science in the United States, the United Kingdom and at the pan-European level. And in September 2012 she will be commencing a two-year ESRC Mid-Career Development Fellowship investigating the relationship and disjuncture between regulatory standards for pharmaceutical development and marketing and the evidential needs of health technology assessment bodies and healthcare systems.

Courtney has also undertaken research on trends in the enforcement of occupational health and safety in the UK and internationally, and has been commissioned to undertake research for government bodies and NGOs. In 2004 she was invited to appear as a witness before the Parliamentary Select Committee inquiry into the work of the Health and Safety Executive and Commission, and in 2011 was invited to contribute to a Department of Work and Pensions Review of occupational health and safety legislation (the ‘Lofstedt Review’).

She has been interviewed and consulted by journalists from The Lancet, The Guardian, Panorama, and most recently for the BBC’s File on 4 programme. As well as receiving invitations to present her research to national and international academic audiences, she has been invited to present to a range of government, professional, industry and third sector audiences, both within the UK and overseas – including the Health and Safety Commission, the Institution for Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), Health Technology Assessment International (HTAi), GlaxoSmithKline, the Trades Union Congress, Health Action International, and the UK Hazards movement. 

Between 2003 and 2007 Courtney served as a Board Member and  then as Deputy Director of the Centre for Corporate Accountability.

Her forthcoming book, Unhealthy Pharmaceutical Regulation: Innovation, Politics and Promissory Science (with John Abraham), will be published by Palgrave and is due out in early 2013. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

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