' ); } ?>

How can healthcare systems become more equitable?

Misfires Multidisciplinary Conference; Targeting Therapies: Exploring the Cultural & Normative Dimensions of ‘Targeted’ Approaches to Biomedicine and Public Health, in the UCD Quinn School
  • Conference to explore the cultural and social dimensions of targeted innovation in healthcare markets
  • Accompanying art exhibition will be opened by Julia Corey, a spokesperson from Long Covid Ireland, and conveys realities of living with Long Covid and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome 

The MISFIRES Conference Targeted Therapies and the exhibition Chronic Illness: A Creative Exploration Art, will explore how to make healthcare systems more equitable by improving stakeholder input into biomedical and public health issues. 

“It is increasingly common for governments to commit, symbolically and economically, to dreams of targeted therapeutic innovation in healthcare,” said Professor Susi Geiger, UCD College of Business Professor of Marketing and Market Studies who is organising the conference. 

“Typically, when you look at markets, most innovative efforts come from two places: industry, through product or service innovations, or government, through regulation. More and more, these innovative pushes relate to ‘targeted’ biomedical approaches, such as pharmaceuticals aimed at very specific kinds of disease, for example cancers. These pharmaceuticals might respond only to people with particular genetic variants. These are important innovations, but it is necessary to discuss the cultural, social and economic consequences of these kinds of ‘targeted therapies’.”

The conference brings together some of the world’s top social scientists in healthcare, including specialists from the UK, France, Denmark, the Netherlands, the US and others, together with healthcare advocates and experts. 

Conversations will focus on topics ranging from regulations on genetic research, access to medicine from high and low-income settings, EU pharmaceutical law, as well as AI’s role in the future of medicine, among other topics. Full programme can be found below.   

Through this conference, experts will critically examine the design, delivery, and implications of ‘targeted’ biomedicine and public health to help us to better understand the dynamics between innovative science, healthcare, and society. The conference will have a particular focus on how these new approaches to healthcare will impact health equity across society. 

“In simple terms, the conference will address the question of how society should deal with these new therapeutic advances. Given the increase in medications that come onto the market at price points far beyond a million Euro per patient, these debates are now vital to hold,” continued Professor Geiger, who was recently appointed as an independent expert to a new WHO Technical Advisory Group on pharmaceutical pricing policies.

The event is open to the public and will take place at UCD Lochlann Quinn School of Business in room Q117 from May 2-3, 2024. Please register here.

Chronic Illness: A Creative Exploration Art Exhibition 

There will also be an exhibition of artwork done by people living with energy-limiting illnesses (ME/CFS and Long Covid) in the UCD Quinn School Contemplative Space, with a launch on May 2nd at 2pm where Julia Corey, a spokesperson from Long Covid Ireland, will open the exhibition. It will then tour to the LexIcon Library and Cultural Centre in Dún Laoghaire, where it will be displayed from 16 to 30 May. 

The effects of chronic illness on people’s bodies and lives are varied and, in many cases, poorly understood. Conditions such as myalgic encephalomyelitis or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) and Long Covid, in particular, continue to be glossed over and marginalised by healthcare systems, social benefit providers, and general public around the world, with further repercussion for the health of those already bearing the brunt of illness.  

This exhibition is the outcome of a research project that asked people suffering from ME/CFS, long Covid, and other chronic conditions to use art to convey what it is like to live with chronic illness. Responses ranged from photographs to drawings, embroideries, knitting, collages, and poetry. This exhibition gathers all those to share the often invisible experiences of chronically ill people and bring to light the resilience and creativity of this community.

This exhibition is part of the ERC-funded MISFIRES project, which explores the intersection of healthcare systems, health advocacy, and the lived experiences of illness in order to promote just and equitable access to healthcare for everyone.

More about MISFIRES

MISFIRES is funded through a highly prestigious €2 million ERC (European Research Council) Consolidator Grant and is led by Principal Investigator, UCD Professor of Marketing Susi Geiger. Professor Geiger’s unique combination of industry knowledge and academic leadership in business, marketing and social sciences helped to secure the grant which takes a multi-faceted approach to evaluating this growing and complex, societal challenge. Professor Geiger is the only-ever Irish female business scholar, awarded a highly prestigious €2 million ERC (European Research Council) Consolidator Grant to carry out research on market failures in healthcare, for instance, high prices, patent abuses, lack of innovation. 

The MISFIRES project aims to bridge the gap between industry, market participants and the general public through research conferences, public communications and outreach events.

MISFIRES is part of the Horizon 2020 Project which was created to raise the level of excellence in Europe’s science base and ensure a steady stream of world-class research to secure Europe’s long-term competitiveness. Learn more about MISFIRES at https://misfires.ucd.ie/.

Conference Agenda: Targeting Therapies: Exploring the Cultural & Normative Dimensions of ‘Targeted’ Approaches to Biomedicine and Public Health

The event will be opened by Professor Kate Robeson Brown, the Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact at University College Dublin.


  • 10.00 Registration
  • 10.15 Prof Kate Robson Brown, UCD VPRII: Fruits of MISFIRES – Opening
  • 10.30 Prof Susi Geiger (MISFIRES ERC PI): Introduction to the ERC Project: what can activist-led market innovation tell us about biomedical markets
  • 11.00 Dr Ilaria Galasso: Genetic research & the collective good
  • 11.30 BREAK (Contemplative Space)
  • 12.00 Dr Theo Bourgeron: Assetizing & de-assetizing pharmaceutical patents
  • 12.30 Fernandos Ongolly: Health Activism & Access to Medicines at the Last Mile: A Comparative Analysis Between High- & Low Income Settings
  • 13.00 Dr Olya Loza: Chronic illness & its economies
  • 13.30 Prof Susi Geiger: In conclusion: Have we reached Peak Pharma yet?
  • 13.45 Lunch & Exhibition Launch: Living with Long Covid; living with ME/CFS (Contemplative Space) 
  • 15.00 Targeting Therapies Welcome – Prof Martyn Pickersgill
  • 15.15 Session 1:
    • Prof Paul Martin: Why is the pharmaceutical industry investing in targeted therapies and precision medicine?
    • Dr Tineke Kleinhout-Vliek: Gene therapy narratives and the making of pharmaceutical futures 
  • 16.15 BREAK (Contemplative Space)
  • 16.30 Session 2:
    • Dr Sarah Wadmann: Advanced therapies: co-producing technological and regulatory innovation in the Danish welfare state
    • Dr Isabel Briz Hernandez: The Ethical Work of Lab Technicians Manufacturing Targeted Therapies
  • 17.30 Group photo at the lake outside UCD Quinn 18.00 UCD Club Restaurant dinner 


  • 9.30 Session 3:
    • Clara Fabian-Therond (remote presentation): The cultural, ethical, and social dimensions of practices of personalised medicine 
    • Dr Paula Muhr: Splitting FND: Differences in Targeted  Therapies for Functional Movement Disorders and Functional Seizures
    • Dr Lisa Lehner: Uncaring Cures: A Critical Phenomenology of Targeted Therapies for Hepatitis C in the Context of Addiction
  • 11.00 BREAK (Contemplative Space)
  • 11.30 Session 4:
    • Dr Mina Hosseini: AI, Targeted Therapies and the Future of EU Pharmaceutical Law and Policy
    • Dr Mathias Møllebæk: Targeting with digital biomarkers and digital therapeutics: Epistemic and regulatory shifts 
    • Ina Devos and Daan Kenis: Data labor as a lens for addressing health inequalities in precision medicine research participation
  • 13.00 LUNCH, MISFIRES game (Contemplative Space) 
  • 14.00 Session 5:
    • Mirza Alas Portillo: The role of old antibiotics in challenging the narrative of the empty antimicrobial pipeline?
    • Dr Ting Ting Shum: Is it all targeted when in context? Funding ‘free’ tuberculosis treatment in contemporary Shanghai, China
    • Hadewych Honné: Cost-effectiveness as a matter of concern: Investigating treatment optimisation studies as part of a move towards personalised medicine
  • 15.30 BREAK (Contemplative Space)
  • 16.00 Session 6:
    • Dr Carolina Meyes: Off-target effects and the cascade of risk
    • Dr Alberto Aparicio: They want to live forever: private investors and the making of a life-extension revolution in biomedicine
  • 17.00 Closing Discussion