Browse/search for people

Professor Aurora Plomer

Professor Aurora Plomer

Professor Aurora Plomer
LLB, PhD, MA, B.A. Hons

Professor of Intellectual Property and Human Rights

Area of research

Professor of Intellectual Property and Human Rights

Office Room 5.73 WMB
Wills Memorial Building,
Queens Road, Clifton BS8 1RJ
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 954 5339


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


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 at of the University of Lancaster (BA, MA, PhD) and in Law at the University of  Manchester (LLB). Professor Plomer teaches undergraduate and postgraduate courses on Intellectual Property (LAWD2043, LAWDM0022),  International Intellectual Property and Human Rights (LAWD30114) and European Human Rights (LAWDM0120).  She leads the School's Primary Research Unit on Law and Governance. 

Professor Plomer's research examines the balance of protection between IP rights, human rights and  the regulation of new biotechnologies. In 2006 she was the P.I. of a major project on moral exclusions on embryonic stem cell patents in the European Union. The project led  to numerous publications and a report published by the Commission highlighting the tensions between the EU moral exclusions on patents and regulatory controls on research in a pluralist Europe. The report called  for the EU policy on patents  to be developed consistently with the protection of human rights under the European Convention on Human Rights. 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 has also collaborated with European political and social scientists in Europe on a project which has led to an edited collection by Francois Foret and Orianne Calligaro:  European Values: Challenges and Opportunities    (Routledge, 2018).  Her chapter ‘The Duality of Human Dignity in Europe’ compares the ECHR with the EU charter of Fundamental Rights and argues that the elevation of human dignity to a stand-alone right in the EU Charter is problematic because it  eludes a stable legal meaning and moral content and  is  further exacerbated by the juxtaposition of  human rights values with market freedoms. 

Professor Plomer's latest  book 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: Patents, Human Rights and Access to Science (Edward Elgar, 2015). The book has been endorsed by leading international scholars as an important contribution to the field.  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 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  is currently a collaborator on an international project funded by the Academy of Finland (2016-2020) 'Constitutional Hedges of Intellectual Property'  led by Prof. Tuomas Mylly (PI). The project addresses the ways in which IP,  investment treaties and fundamental rights fence IP protection in Europe. 

Professor Plomer  is 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 and  the University of Oxford Intellectual Property Research Centre.  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. 

You can view a selection of Professor Plomer’s publications on researchgate:

And ssrn:


  • International and European Intellectual Property Rights
  • European Patent Law
  • International law
  • Human Rights
  • EU Regulation of New Technologies
  • Bioethics & Biolaw



University of Bristol Law School

Staff role

Research group

Selected publications

Read more >

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system


Professor Plomer currently teaches 3 courses:

Edit this profile If you are Professor Aurora Plomer, you can edit this page. Login required.

PDF versionDownload PDF