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.

The Bioethics Institute Ghent of Ghent University becomes the host of the Belgian UNESCO Chair in Bioethics

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is responsible for the promotion of scientific collaboration among the peoples of the world, in order to advance the objectives of international peace and of the common welfare of humankind as well as to ensure that the advances of science and technology will take place within the framework of universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for human rights and fundamental freedoms. The UNESCO Chair in Bioethics was established in 2001 and was authorized to coordinate and stimulate an International Network of Institutes for Medical Ethics Training, associating higher education institutes, and to develop an up-to-date syllabus for medical ethics education that satisfies the requirements of medical schools in the world. The International Network of the Chair consists of numerous units in five continents.

Ghent University is very proud to become the host of the Belgian Unit of this UNESCO Chair and for the resulting opportunities to advance teaching, research and public debate in bioethics worldwide. Professor Sigrid Sterckx of the Bioethics Institute Ghent, Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, Ghent University, will act as the Head of the Belgian Unit assisted by a Steering Committee comprised of experts in various disciplines relevant to bioethics (philosophy, law, medicine, social sciences,…) from various institutions in both the Dutch speaking and the French speaking parts of Belgium.

The Belgian Unit of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics will undertake a range of activities, including the organisation of conferences, lectures and seminars for academic and non-academic experts as well as lay audiences in order to raise public awareness and stimulate public debate, and the promotion of research in bioethics. The Belgian Unit will also play an active role in the annual International Conferences of the Chair and its worldwide national Units.