By Graeme Laurie
2017 marks the fifth anniversary of the establishment of the Mason Institute. As the Founding Director, it has been my genuine privilege to oversee these early years, and it is with considerable humility and respect that I look back over this period to reflect on what we have achieved together. Medical law and ethics at Edinburgh will always be associated with Ken Mason and Sandy McCall-Smith, but the world of medical jurisprudence – as we call it – changes apace, and the Mason Institute has sought to remain at the forefront of these changes. As well as being the intellectual home of projects funded by Wellcome, ESRC, and the European Commission, the Mason Institute has become a thriving postgraduate centre: over the last few years we have had an average of 8-10 PhD working with us, and our LLM degrees (online and on-campus) go from strength-to-strength. In 2015, we were joint winners for the Award of Most Outstanding Team in the College of Humanities and Social Science, and in 2016 we were delighted to host the World Congress of the International Association of Bioethics. Many new colleagues have joined us, and even although they never had the opportunity to meet Ken Mason, they have been unfailing in their commitment to pursuing his spirit of intellectual and interdisciplinary openness. I am delighted to pass the mantle of Directorship to two of these colleagues, Drs Sarah Chan and Agomoni Ganguli-Mitra. Their vision for the Mason Institute would have left Ken Mason inspired (but most certainly not speechless!).
Five years of the Mason Institute: how far have we come and what lies ahead?