Introduction to the program

In collaboration with the Faculties of Science, Medicine, Theology, Law and the Philosophical-Historical Faculty (see Governance) the IBMB offers an interdisciplinary PhD program in Bioethics, Health Policy and Legal Medicine. The PhD Program incorporates two different doctoral degrees: PhD in Biomedical Ethics is associated with the Faculty of Medicine, and the PhD in Bioethics with the Faculty of Science. The doctoral education at the University of Basel is accredited by the Swiss Bologna education system. The reasons for the development of this PhD Program at the University of Basel were threefold:

1.    Address a gap in high level education in biomedical ethics, in collaboration with the only other national PhD program in biomedical ethics at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Zürich.

2.    Add in particular a focus on ethics in the life sciences, responding not only to the national and international need for advanced education in bioethics but also to students’ demand, thereby attracting excellent international candidates.

3.    Establish Switzerland as a site for internationally recognized research in ethical issues related to both medicine and the life sciences.

The establishment of a PhD in bioethics at the Faculty of Science is novel and unique, as no such collaboration exists in Switzerland. Our program collaborates also with the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute and examines ethical questions related to public health interventions and to clinical trials related to the treatment of neglected diseases.


The IBMB is led by Prof. Dr. B. Elger, who holds a full-professorship position at the University of Basel in the Faculties of Science and Medicine.  Prof. Elger has extensive experience in the supervision of research projects in biomedical ethics and has successfully obtained several research grants from the Swiss National Science Foundation. She is responsible for guiding, supervising, and managing the Institute. Also responsible for student supervision and research is the PhD coordinator, Dr. T. Wangmo, who completed her PhD from the University of Kentucky (USA). She is experienced in empirical research methods and her research interests lie within the scope of justice and human rights. Before coming to Basel, she completed a year of post-doctoral work in Kentucky. In addition, there are currently three senior post-docs and five junior post-docs from different disciplines who contribute towards co-supervising PhD students and help with student’s research projects. At present we have between 1:1 and 1:2 post-doc to PhD student ratio. With additional PhD students expected, we aim to have a balanced and manageable ratio of 1:2.

The supervision takes place in collaboration with colleagues from the Faculties of Science, Medicine, Theology, Law and the Philosophical-Historical Faculty (see Governance)

Dr Tenzin Wangmo
PhD Program Coordinator
Bernoullistrasse 28
4056 Basel

Tel: +41 61 207 17 87
Fax: +41 61 207 17 80