Bioethics Institute Ghent - Mission Statement

The Bioethics Institute Ghent (BIG) at Ghent University is based at the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy and is a subdivision of the Department of Philosophy and Moral Sciences. It serves as a meeting point for academics teaching and conducting research on bioethical issues at any Ghent University department. Bioethics comprises ethical issues in biomedicine, health care and biology, and the broader issues of biotechnology.

The aims of BIG are to:

  • support scholarly research in bioethics at Ghent University
  • educate and inform students, professionals, the public and public policymakers about bioethical issues
  • serve as an observatory of developments in bioethics at the regional, national and international level
  • serve as an interface between researchers, medical practitioners and ethicists
  • facilitate interdisciplinary discussion about ethical and regulatory issues related to bioethics
  • contribute to debates on public policy in bioethics

These aims are pursued by conducting original interdisciplinary research resulting in leading edge publications, offering courses, organising seminars, public lectures and international conferences, and assisting in the formulation and development of public policy. The members of BIG write, research and teach on a variety of topics, including the ethics of new reproductive technologies, genetics, stem cell and cloning research, transplantation medicine, ageing in health care decision-making, neuro-enhancement, end-of-life decision making and patenting in biotechnology and health care. In order to facilitate research, BIG has developed collaborative relationships with other research centres. BIG has also secured major research grants in a number of areas including the ethics of stem cell research, end-of-life decision making, neuro-enhancement, and the ethical dimensions of patents in biotechnology.

We invite you to explore our website, where you will find more information about the Institute, our research and publication activities.

Award winning researchers at BIG

Katrien Devolder received the award prof. Lucien de Coninck for her research into the ethics of science, technology and medicine. In particular, her research into the ethics of human cloning, stem cell research and genetic selection was lauded. Prof. dr. Lucien De Coninck was an internationally renowned biologist with a special interest in humanism and ethics. After his death in 1988, a research fund was created to support young researchers in the fields of biology and ethics. Congratulations, Katrien!

Veerle Provoost has won the Ghent University text message poetry contest. She was congratulated by rector Anne De Paepe and Herman Van Rompuy, the first President of the European Council. The winning poem (in Dutch):

Mis me niet.
Hier sta ik.
Met armen zo wijd dat er een verte tussen ligt.
Een openlijk verlangen naar dicht.
Kom je?