Personal profile

Research interests

International Intellectual Property Law, European Patent Law,  Human Rights,  Regulation of New Biotechnologies, Bioethics.

Research interests

Professor Aurora Plomer joined the University of Bristol Law School in August 2016 from the University of Sheffield where she was Director of the Sheffield Institute of Biotechnology, Law and Ethics. She was previously a Reader in Law at the University of Nottingham and a Lecturer in Law at the University of Leeds. She graduated in Philosophy from the University of Lancaster (BA, MA, Ph.D.) and in Law at the University of  Manchester (LLB). 

Professor Plomer is currently working on a project for which she has been awarded a Major Research Fellowship by the Leverhulme Trust  (September 2020 until August 2022).  The aim of the project is to examine the history and rationale for the extension of property rights to companies in the European Convention on Human Rights. The outcome of this project will be a monograph on Intellectual Property and the Human Rights of Companies in Europe which will be published by Cambridge University Press. In the spring of 2022, Professor was a visiting senior fellow at the School of Law of the London School of Economics in connection with the project.  Her research was published in the LSE Legal Studies working papers series in June 2022. You can read her paper 'Trading Intellectual Property Rights in Europe: from IP Nationalism to International IP' here. 

Professor Plomer was a collaborator on an international project funded by the Academy of Finland (2016-2020) 'Constitutional Hedges of Intellectual Property' led by Prof. Tuomas Mylly. The project addresses the ways in which IP, investment Treaties and fundamental rights fence IP protection in Europe. Her chapter 'A Market Friendly Paradigm for IP Rights and Human Rights in Europe' can be accessed in the open access collection edited by J. Griffiths & T. Mylly, Global Intellectual Property and the New Constitutionalism (OUP, 2022). 

Professor Plomer's recent research has focused on the interaction between intellectual property rights, human rights and innovation.  In 2014, she was a Senior Fernand Braudel Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence where she researched the history of patent harmonization in Europe leading to the creation of the Unified Patent Court. Professor Plomer's latest book  Patents, Human Rights and Access to Science (Edward Elgar, 2015) examines the historical and moral foundations of the right to access the benefits of science in international law and the implications for current debates on the monopolies created by patents in the life sciences. She has continued this line of research in a chapter 'IP Rights and Human Rights: What History tells us and why it matters' in an open access collection edited by  H. Porsdam & Porsdam Mann 'The Right to Science then and now (CUP, 2021). 

In September 2017, she was invited to take part in a high-level international meeting on Innovation for Sustainable Development organized by UNESCO and the Mexican state of Guanajuato. Her presentation on ‘Patents, Biotechnology and Global Justice’ drew on examples of R&D public-private partnerships in Europe to highlight the challenges in integrating the protection of fundamental human rights with IP rights. An expanded version of her presentation 'IP Right & Human Rights for Innovation and Sustainable Development has been published by UNESCO (2018). 

Professor Plomer was a member of the European Commission’s panel of ethics experts on new technologies, health, and innovation in the FP7 and Horizon 2020 programs. She has been a visiting fellow at the Boalt Hall School of Law at the  University of California at Berkeley;  the Centre for Biomedical Ethics at the University of Stanford, the University of Oxford Intellectual Property Research Centre, and the LSE school of law.  Her research has been funded by UNESCO, the Council of Europe, the European Commission, the Brocher Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, the British Academy, and the ESRC.


Structured keywords and research groupings

  • Human Rights Implementation Centre


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