The Centre for Human Bioethics was established by Professor Peter Singer in 1980 as Australia’s first research center devoted to bioethics, and it has developed into one of the world’s leading Centres of its kind. The Centre pursues vigorous research into many aspects of bioethics, teaches a strong graduate program to clinicians and others seeking to develop their skills in this area, and undertakes a variety of professional and community outreach activities.
The Centre has three primary aims:
- To carry out research on issues in human bioethics and to promote study of the ethical, social and legal problems arising out of medical, biological and genetic research.
- To provide an advisory and resource centre for government, professional, educational, and community groups.
- To stimulate the development of educational programs in human bioethics for professionals and the public.
There are a number of ways to make a donation to the Centre for Human Bioethics:
- Please make a gift online using Monash University’s secure online donation site.
- You can also send in a cheque or money order, payable to “Monash University”, to:
Monash University Centre for Human Bioethics
Advancement, Monash University
PO Box 197
Caulfield East VIC 3145
Donations and bequests can significantly assist the Centre in achieving its aims. Donations and bequests to the Centre for Human Bioethics promote excellence in research, learning and teaching.
If you are considering leaving a bequest and would like to discuss this, please contact:
The Centre welcomes donations to support its annual Monash-WHO Bioethics Fellowship. This Fellowship enables Monash Master of Bioethics students to undertake a 2 or 3 month internship in the Department of Human Ethics, Trade, Rights and Health Law, at the World Health Organization in Geneva, during the Australian summer vacation period (December-February). The Fellowship is usually valued at AUS$9,000 per year. As bioethics interns in the Department of Human Ethics, Trade, Rights and Health Law, Fellows assist with research projects in the Department. The aim is for Fellows to have a semi-professional experience learning about the substantive work, as well as about international organizations.
The Centre welcomes donations to support the following educational opportunities:
- Scholarships for students to undertake a supervised research project for a Master of Bioethics (by research), or a PhD program in Bioethics.
- Scholarships for indigenous students to undertake the Master of Bioethics (by coursework)
- Scholarships for lay members of Human Research Ethics Committees to undertake the Centre’s new Graduate Certificate in Research Ethics.
- Scholarships for individuals wishing to participate in the Centre’s annual week-long Intensive Bioethics Course
- Scholarships for students wishing to undertake a PhD or Master of Bioethics (by research) on a topic linked with one of the Centre’s current research projects (see below).
Monash Bioethics Review
The Centre welcomes donations to support the production of its quarterly refereed journal, Monash Bioethics Review, Australia’s oldest peer reviewed bioethics journal. Each issue contains several original articles by leading commentators on bioethics. Also included is an Ethics Committee Supplement, featuring original articles and news items on issues of particular interest to members of human research ethics committees. In addition, there are book reviews, news on scientific and legal developments relevant to bioethics, and an Ethics Committee Reflection. Symposia on current bioethical issues are also a regular feature of the journal. Monash Bioethics Review has a wide readership which includes bioethicists, medical practitioners, medical researchers, and ethics committee members.
The Centre also welcomes donations to support the establishment of an annual essay writing prize, with the prize-winning essay to be published in Monash Bioethics Review.
The Centre also contributes to the community through a range of research projects. Donations to support work on the following current research projects are welcomed:
Conflicts of interest in physician-industry relationships (Justin Oakley)
Relationships between doctors and the pharmaceutical industry are currently the focus of much ethical scrutiny. A significant area of concern has been the medical conflicts of interest created by the pervasive influence that pharmaceutical companies are known to have on the prescribing behaviour of many doctors. The wrongs of doctors prescribing medications on the basis of certain links with pharmaceutical companies can be analysed in terms of how such behaviour harms patients, or how it violates patients’ rights. This project investigates the limitations of harm-based and rights-based approaches to the ethics of medical conflicts of interest. It also considers whether virtue-based approaches to ethics can provide a deeper analysis of what is essentially wrong with such behaviour in medical conflict of interest situations. Can familiar monopoly of expertise arguments in professional ethics be extended to show that, in return for being granted a monopoly of expertise on the provision of key goods, doctors are obligated not only to behave in certain ways but also to have certain professional character-traits? The project will result in policy recommendations for professional and regulatory bodies on medical conflicts of interest.
The ethics of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (Rob Sparrow)
Modern medicine is capable of testing for more and more genetic conditions, including those that are clearly medical conditions and those where this is much less clear. Preimplantation genetic diagnosis involves creating multiple embryos through in vitro fertilisation and then testing each of them to see which genes are present before deciding which to implant to try to secure a pregnancy. This procedure raises many profound ethical issues about the relationship between genes and persons, health and disease, and between parents and children. My research on this topic is intended to inform policy about which sort of genes parents should be allowed to test for.
Disability and justice (Linda Barclay)
Disability is an expanding area of research, legislation, policy and public debate world-wide. The interest in, and conflicts around, disability are set to continue given the ageing of the population, on-going advances in medical and genetic technology, and increasing advocacy for people with disabilities. There has been considerable empirical, legal and social science research on disability, but very little philosophical research on the fundamental theoretical bases for justice for people with disability. Linda Barclay’s research involves philosophical analysis of contested questions of what counts as discrimination and fair resource distribution in the context of competing claims. Without core philosophical input, it is often hard to move policy and public debate beyond rather polemical claims. The aim is to help generate more philosophical interest in this area, and to foster more active collaboration between philosophers, social scientists, disability advocates and policy-makers.
Technology and Aged Care (Rob Sparrow)
Changing demographics are placing an enormous pressure on those people and institutions involved in caring for older persons, especially as they enter frail old age. Many researchers and organisations believe that part of the solution to this problem consists in better technology. My research concerns the ethics of the introduction of new technologies into aged care, with an emphasis on securing the best possible outcome for those being cared for.
Thank you very much for considering supporting the work and programs of the Centre for Human Bioethics.