Welcome to the Institute for Biomedical Ethics

The Institute for Biomedical Ethics at the University of Basel (IBMB) is a vibrant centre for research on and teaching about ethical issues in medicine and the biosciences. The Institute was founded in 2011 and is affiliated with both the Science and Medical Faculties at the University of Basel – a unique situation for an ethics institute in Switzerland.

The IBMB has over a dozen PhD students and a team of senior researchers and post-docs working on a wide variety of projects in biomedical ethics. The IBMB’s researchers are committed to an interdisciplinary endeavour aimed at finding ethical solutions to dilemmas raised by both new and traditional practices in biomedical ethics, including cutting-edge technologies, organ donation, palliative care, and research in developing countries, to name only a few. Our research combines empirical fieldwork, including interviews with stakeholders and members of the public, and normative, theoretical analysis. IBMB researchers have won several grants from the SNF, SAMW and other major funders and frequently publish in major bioethics, medical and science journals.

IBMB members are also highly involved in teaching, providing ethics courses for undergraduate students and postgraduate scientists and doctors. A variety of courses are open to the public, including the twice-yearly “Contemporary Issues in Bioethics” lecture series that integrates a lively dialogue with visiting speakers.

If you are interested in collaborating with us, are looking for a PhD student or post-doc job, need ethical input on your own project, or would like us to provide ethics related courses/workshops for your students or research team, please get in touch with us!

New Article. Understanding access to professional healthcare among asylum seekers facing gender-based violence: a qualitative study from a stakeholder perspective, by Mirjam D. Rodella Sapia, Tenzin Wangmo, Stéphanie Dagron and Bernice S. Elger

When it comes to gender-based violence (GBV), migrant women and girls represent the most vulnerable group. GBV can happen at any stage of migrants’ flight and/or during the asylum process. It has severe consequences on their life and…

New Publication. Data protection and biomedical research in Switzerland: setting the record straight, by Andrea Martani, Dr. Philpp Egli, Dr. Michael Widmer and Prof. Bernice Elger

Ensuring the protection of privacy and the compliance with data protection rules have become central issues for researchers active in the biomedical field. Data protection law is often perceived as very complex and difficult to interpret,…

New article: Data protection during the coronavirus crisis, by Christophe Olivier Schneble, Prof. Bernice Simone Elger, and Dr. David Martin Shaw

The SARS‐CoV‐2 virus has caused a worldwide pandemic with many deaths (WHO, 2020b) and healthcare systems being pushed to their limits. This makes it all the more important to identify infected people early on and to ensure that people…

New Article: Invisible Enemies: Coronavirus and Other Hidden Threats by Dr. David Shaw

To say that coronavirus is highly visible is a massive understatement in terms of its omnipresence in our lives and media coverage concerning it, yet also clearly untrue in terms of the virus itself. COVID-19 is our invisible enemy,…

New article: Uncertainties about the need for ethics approval in Switzerland: a mixed-methods study, by V. Gloy, S. McLennan, M. Rinderknecht, B. Ley, B. Meier, S. Driessen, P. Gervasoni, B. Hirschel, P. Benkert, I. Gilles, E. von Elm and M. Briel

To ensure ethical oversight, researchers wanting to conduct “research” involving human beings are typically required to obtain prior approval from an independent ethics committee. However, it can sometimes be unclear if a project needs to…

Special Issue: TB and Ethics in the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease

Professor Bernice Elger contributed to the special issue TB and Ethics in the International Journal of Tubercolosis and Lung Disease with an article entitled: Ethical issues in tuberculosis screening and the use of new drugs for prisoners

New article: Working Through Ethics Review of Big Data Research Projects: An Investigation into the Experiences of Swiss and American Researchers, by Maddalena Favaretto, Dr. Eva De Clercq, Prof. Matthias Briel and Prof. Bernice Elger

The employment of Big Data as an increasingly used research method has introduced novel challenges to ethical research practices and to ethics committees (ECs) globally. The aim of this study is to explore the experiences of scholars with…

New article: Acute and transitional care or rehabilitation? Retrospective analysis of discharge planning from a municipal hospital in Switzerland, by L. Kollbrunner, M. Rost, I. Koné, B. Zimmermann, Y. Padrutt, T. Wangmo & B. Elger

Due to rising health care costs, in 2012 Switzerland introduced SwissDRG, a reimbursement system for hospitals based on lump sum per case. To circumvent possible negative consequences like reduction in length of stay, acute and transitional…

New article: Rejected Online Feedback From a Swiss Physician Rating Website Between 2008 and 2017: Analysis of 2352 Ratings, by Dr. Stuart Mc Lennan

Previous research internationally has only analyzed publicly available feedback on physician rating websites (PRWs). However, it appears that many PRWs are not publishing all the feedback they receive. Analysis of this rejected feedback…

Current controversy: Withholding conflicts of interest: the many flaws of the new ICMJE disclosure form. By Dr. David Shaw

In this article, I describe and analyse the proposed new International Committee of Medical Journal Editors form for disclosing conflicts of interest and conclude that it has many flaws. The form does not mention ‘conflicts of interest’…

Contact and Address of the
Institute for Biomedical Ethics
Bernoullistrasse 28 - 2nd Floor
4056 Basel

Tel: +41 61 207 17 86