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The mapping and sequencing of the human genome has stimulated the development of genetic technologies in healthcare and a need to examine the economics of the new technologies.

The UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) has funded a series of seminars, organised by Dr. Sarah Wordsworth (Health Economics Research Centre), Dr. Katherine Payne (University of Manchester) and James Jarrett (University of East Anglia). Four seminars have been held so far at the Universities of Manchester (May 2006), Oxford (November 2006), London (October 2008), East Anglia (May 2009).

A fifth seminar took place on 21-22 October 2010, St Anne's College, University of Oxford. More Information

The aims of the seminars were:

  • To provide a forum to present and discuss current and new economic analysis in genetics;
  • To build a network of individuals comprising: health economists and other economists; ethicists, sociologists and actuaries applying economic techniques in genetics research;
  • To create a knowledge base by supporting economic input into genetics research and promote dialogue between the above individuals.

Each seminar was structured around a key theme. The seminars were two-day residential events at which original research and research in progress was presented and discussed. The seminars were aimed at researchers from the UK and international community involved in the economic aspects of human genetic science. PhD students working in this area were also encouraged to apply.

The cost of the event, accommodation and meals for all participants (including the seminar dinner on the first night) were covered by the fee and ESRC funding.

Seminar participants were welcome to attend all four seminars or fewer. However, each seminar was limited to a total of 30 participants all of whom were expected to contribute as authors, discussants or chairs. Dinner on the evening of the overnight stay provided participants with the opportunity to mingle in a more informal environment.

Seminar 1: Service Delivery in Genetics

18-19 May, 2006, North West Genetics Knowledge Park, University of Manchester, UK.

Organised by Dr. Katherine Payne

Seminar 2: Economic Evaluation in Genetic Testing

23-24 November, 2006. Christ Church, University of Oxford. Programme

Organised by Dr. Sarah Wordsworth.

Seminar 3: The Economic Evaluation of Genetic Diseases

2-3 October 2008, Office of Health Economics, Whitehall, London.

Organised by Dr Katherine Payne, Health Methodology Research Group, University of Manchester.

Papers discussed covered use of expert opinion in economic evaluation, feasibility of assessing cost-effectiveness from pilot studies, a comparison of reimbursement decisions across the EU, benefits and harms of genetics services and the impact of regulatory approaches to genetic testing on insurance markets.

Seminar 4: Economic Evaluation of Genetic Technologies

20-21 May 2009, University of East Anglia, Norwich UK

Organised by James Jarrett, University of East Anglia

Seminar 5: Health Economics and Genetics: where are we now?

21-22 October 2010, St Anne's College, University of Oxford, UK

Organised by Sarah Wordsworth, Health Economic Research Centre, University of Oxford