Dr David Coles

Dr. David Coles

Senior Research Fellow

School of Health Sciences

Brook Building, BB230

+44 (0) 1772 89 2550

Dr David Coles is currently Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Professional Ethics, University of Central Lancashire, and Research Associate at the University of Newcastle’s School Natural and Environmental Sciences. He is also Director of Enhance International Limited, a consultancy company, reviewing and providing advice on ethical and policy aspects of scientific research. He is also a consultant ethics expert for the European Commission

He is research active within the areas of research ethics related to agriculture, health and international justice.

Full Profile

Dr Coles has a background in risk analysis, ethics and policy development. Previous experience includes Joint Programme Manager for the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership, with responsibility for coordinating EU member States’ funding of poverty-related diseases in Sub-Saharan Africa; developing and implementing the EU system of ethics review for the European Commission for research proposals to the EU Framework Programmes.

He makes an ongoing contribution to EU policy development on ethics, working as an external expert for the European Commission. He was an assistant director at the UK Office of Science and Technology, developing and implementing guidelines on use of scientific advice in policy-making, a code of practice for scientific advisory committees and government policy on public confidence in science.

Prior to this he was at the UK Department of Health working on chemical risk assessment, was responsible for developing Department of Health risk communication strategies, and was Chair of the risk communication group of the UK government’s Interdepartmental Group on Risk Analysis.

He was subsequently Head of the Medical Ethics unit contributing to reviewing UK Research Ethics Committee guidelines, managed the establishment of the UK Human Genetics Commission and was its first Secretary.


Frewer, L, J, Coles, D, Dijkstra, A, M, Kuznesof, S, Kendall, H and Kaptan, G (2016) Synthetic biology applied in the agrifood sector: Societal priorities and pitfalls. Applied Studies in Agribusiness and Commerce, 10 (2-3). pp. 89-96. ISSN 1789-7874

van der Fels-Klerx, H J, van Asselt, E D, Raley, M, Poulsen, M, Korsgaard, H, Bredsdorff, L, Nauta, M, D'Agostino, M, Coles, D. et al (2016) Critical review of methods for risk ranking of food related hazards, based on risks for human health. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition. ISSN 1549-7852

Coles, D, Chaturvedi, S, Li, Q and Ladikas, M. (2015) New food technologies in Europe, India and China. In: Science and Technology Governance and Ethics. Springer International Publishing, pp. 111-124. ISBN 978-3-319-14692-8.

Coles, D, Frewer, LJ. and Goddard, E. (2015) Ethical Issues and potential stakeholder priorities associated with the application of genomic technologies applied to animal production systems. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 28 (2). pp. 231-253. ISSN 1187-7863

More publications


Ph.D. Molecular Sciences, Warwick University, 1976

B.Sc. (Ist Class Hons) Chemistry and Physiology 1969

Research Activities

Research interests include ethical and risk communication issues, particularly in relation to food production and security, biomedical ethics, converging and emerging technology research, innovation and the relationship between science and policy.

Research Projects

EU FP6 project "GEST" - Global Ethics in Science and Technology and EU Project "ProGreSS" (Responsible Research and Innovation"