Postgraduate Researcher with the Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law, Emyr Wile, picked up the award at Swansea University’s Postgraduate Research Awards 2022.

Emyr was nominated for the prize by his PhD supervisor, Professor Karen Morrow, and was awarded by Estelle Hart as part of the prizegiving ceremony, which saw two fellow researchers being given runner-up prizes for the same award.

He picked up the award for his ongoing research, with the working title for his thesis being:

“Informed Consent and Trisomy Screening: Delineating Parent and Healthcare Professional Perspectives.”

Emyr’s research seeks to delineate the interests of both parent and healthcare professionals to deliver and secure consent for trisomy (Down’s Syndrome, Edward’s Syndrome and Patau’s Syndrome) screening.

He believes that consent should be understood as an ongoing process: it is not a ‘one-off’ event. Consent is a continued dialogue between parents and healthcare professionals. So, it is important, firstly, to understand whether parents are receiving non-biased, balanced and accurate information about the conditions before delivering consent and, secondly, whether reasonable systems are in place for healthcare professionals to effectively secure it

 As part of his research, Emyr has obtained the views of parents who have had babies with a trisomy (DS, ES and PS) to understand their experience of decision-making and consent for screening. He has also obtained the perspectives of healthcare professionals, both on the NHS and privately, to discover whether the correct support and systems are in place for them to secure consent from parents. Engaging with both perspectives has provided him with a full and rounded account of whether consent is being sufficiently obtained for trisomy screening.

It is this ongoing work that made Emyr the ideal recipient of this award.

Speaking on picking up the prize, Emyr said:

“From my experience as a PhD candidate in Law, it is easy to lose sight of what a PhD is actually for: it should not for the kudos of being a ‘Dr’, nor should it be left on a dusty bookshelf, forgotten and never returned to. For me, a PhD is about making a difference to the world we live in. My PhD has always been driven by my passion for public engagement: working with NHS healthcare professionals, trisomy charities, campaign groups, parents to name a few.

This award is particularly special to me as it recognises the impact the PhD has had, and is still having, on those who matter most. While the award is confirmation of the PhD’s milestones, it marks only the beginning of my journey to continue to engage with the public and stakeholders alike.”

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