The Institute of Biomedical Ethics (IBME) was established in 2005 in response to the growing need for education, research and consultancy in the area of medical ethics and bioethics. It belongs to the Medical Faculty of the University of Zurich and forms part of the Centre for Ethics, a well-established interdepartmental institution devoted to research, teaching and consultancy.
The IBME is a WHO Collaborating Centre. The IBME is actively engaged in the following areas:
- Research ethics
- Clinical ethics
- Public health ethics
- Ethical aspects of biotechnological developments
- Theoretical foundations of biomedical ethics
- Biomedical law
The Institute participates in the University Research Priority Programme for Ethics (URPP), which administers research fellowships as well as the Graduate Programme for Interdisciplinary Research in Ethics. It is involved in projects sponsored by the European Commission and other international research collaborations.
The main teaching activities of IBME consist of core courses and electives for medical students. At the same time, staff members are involved in postgraduate education, in particular in the Advanced Studies in Applied Ethics.
The Institute is also involved in ethics consultancy, both in the clinical and academic fields as well as in policy debates. Members of the IBME are present in the global discourse on bioethical issues through their membership in professional associations such as International Association of Bioethics (IAB), European Society for Philosophy of Medicine and Health Care (ESPMH), Swiss Society of Biomedical Ethics (SGBE/SSEB), German Academy of Medical Ethics (AEM), their editorial work for national and international journals ( Bioethica Forum ; Journal of Medical Ethics ; Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy ; Ethik in der Medizin) and their experience in international organizations, including the World Health Organization and UNESCO.
On September 2014, the Chair of History of Medicine was newly integrated into the Institute for Biomedical Ethics. It is an interdisciplinary research unit within the Universtiy of Zurich's Faculty of Humanities.