KU News Release


Nov. 15, 2011
Contact: Sarah Shebek, School of Law, 785-864-2388

KU law professor appointed as Gruter Institute Research Fellow

Andrew W. Torrance


More Information

LAWRENCE — University of Kansas School of Law professor Andrew W. Torrance has been appointed a Gruter Institute Research Fellow, placing him among the ranks of the nation’s foremost experts and innovators in law and behavioral science.

The Gruter Institute for Law and Behavioral Research, based in California, brings together a multidisciplinary network of distinguished scholars from the United States and abroad to pursue research and teaching. Research fellowships are awarded to individuals who actively participate in the Institute’s activities – in Torrance’s case, the law, innovation and biology.

He joins a group of 36 scholars from diverse locations, including Harvard and Stanford, Germany and India. The Gruter Institute Fellows all recognize a need for the law and other social sciences to be better informed about the biological bases of human behavior.

“The Gruter Institute, brilliantly led by Monika Gruter Cheney, has pioneered through combining law, economics and biology for several generations,” Torrance said. “I’m very honored to be appointed a Research Fellow there, and I look forward to participating more deeply in the activities of the Institute. I’m humbled by the current and previous Research Fellows, who have included many luminaries in a variety of academic fields.”

Past and present Gruter Institute Fellows include Nobel Prize-winning economist Vernon L. Smith, whose groundbreaking work on experimental economics has inspired Torrance in his own experimental law research program; primatologist Frans B. M. de Waal, who is considered an expert in the field of primate society; renowned economist Paul Zak, who first published the term “neuroeconomics;” and notable anthropologist Lionel Tiger, a pioneer in introducing biosocial data into the social sciences.

As a Research Fellow, Torrance is responsible for helping to guide the Institute’s research direction, create Institute-related publications dealing with law, and continuing his scholarship and research in areas of interest to the Institute, which include law, behavior, economics, evolution and neuroscience. The Institute values interdisciplinary research and teaching, and Torrance will collaborate with other fellows in workshops, symposia, conferences and interdisciplinary working teams. The results often contribute to special projects or publications.

The Institute’s projects frequently catch the eye of significant donors. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation funded the three-year Law & Neuroscience Project and recently chipped in an additional $5 million for a phase-two grant. The second phase will focus on helping the legal institute avoid misuse of neuroscientific evidence in criminal law and explore ways to deploy neuroscientific insights to improve the fairness and effectiveness of the criminal justice system. Other notable organizations providing financial support include the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, the Cerge Foundation and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Torrance publishes and presents prolifically in the areas of patent law, intellectual property law, biotechnology, biodiversity and experimental law. He joined the KU law faculty in 2005 as an associate professor and received full professorship with tenure this year. In 2009, the university named Torrance a Docking Faculty Scholar, which honors faculty members who have distinguished themselves in their early careers. From 2009-10, he served as a Fellow in Law, Innovation and Growth at the Searle Center at Northwestern University Law School. He received both a doctorate in biology and a juris doctorate from Harvard University. Torrance's articles are freely available here.


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