The Essex Autonomy Project is a research and knowledge-exchange initiative funded by the Wellcome Trust, (January 2017 - January 2022).
The Essex Autonomy Project was initially funded in 2010 with two major grants from the Arts and Humanities Research Council; it has subsequently received funding from the Economic and Social Research Council, Wellcome Trust and the British Academy.
Our research project is based in the School of Philosophy and Art History at the University of Essex and is a collaborative, interdisciplinary research initiative. Our research aims to clarify the ideal of self-determination in history, theory and practice, both for its own sake and to guide public policy makers and frontline professionals in dealing with the complex issues surrounding mental competence, and the capacity of vulnerable individuals to make decisions for themselves.
Its work includes research on topics such as decision-making capacity after brain injury, the application of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in care practice and ideals of objectivity in risk assessments.
Our team works collaboratively with academic researchers, practitioners, policy-makers, legislators and judges across the UK and around the world, and provides consultancy and training services for health and social care practitioners. Our team has worked with local authorities, NHS trusts and third-sector groups across the UK.
In addition to spending much of the year in active research, our members also teach undergraduate and postgraduate students at the University of Essex. We also host an annual summer school and run ad hoc workshops and seminars throughout the year.
Learn more about how our research team and partners are supporting policymakers and practitioners in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can also explore our current research.