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The Ethox Centre provides and contributes to a number of different kinds of ethics courses and workshops. Details of the more regular courses are provided below. If you are interested in attending any of these courses or are interested in Ethox team members providing ethics training and education of other kinds, please contact the centre administrator at


The Ethox Centre regularly runs a short course in research ethics and research integrity for biomedical researchers in Oxford. This course is led by Dr Sapfo Lignou. Each session is based around case studies designed to elicit discussion and to stimulate reflection.  There is an element of small group work, and time at the end for participants to raise cases and issues within their own research.

The course includes sessions on the following topics:

  • Introduction to Research Ethics - to encourage participants to articulate and reflect on the ethical concerns faced by researchers. Participants will leave with a general grasp of the kinds of reasoning that is involved in the ethical consideration of research involving human beings. Although it is not the primary focus of the session, there will be some discussion of the structures and procedures in place in the university and the NHS for the scrutiny of research. Researchers carrying out research involving humans are encouraged to attend one of these introductory sessions.
  • Designing Ethical Research: Harms and Benefits - to introduce students to the main ethical questions that arise when designing a biomedical research study. Particular focus will be given at thinking and evaluating the harms and benefits that biomedical research can bring to the various stakeholders, e.g. the researchers, the research participants, the institution, as well as the responsibilities of researchers towards other researchers, research participants and institutions. The principles of equipoise and fairness will be discussed. During the seminar, students will be presented with case-studies that would help highlight the particular issues at question. Students will also be encouraged to think how institutional processes can help safeguard ethical practice and promote research integrity.
  • Conducting Ethical Research: Consent and Confidentiality - to introduce students to the main ethical problems of conducting biomedical research in developed and developing countries. The main focus of this seminar will be on the issues of consent and confidentiality, data management and data sharing, and falsification of data. Case-studies will be used to prompt discussion and to help students to engage in ethical thinking. Students will also be encouraged to think how institutional processes can help safeguard ethical practice and promote research integrity.
  • Reporting Research: Promoting and Publishing - all researchers are expected to report the outcome of their research to their peers, institution, funders and participants. This seminar is going to focus on publication ethics and the ethics of peer reviewing. It will also look at the post-study obligations researchers have towards their research participants, e.g. informing them about research findings and incidental findings.  Once again, the presenters will draw from the institutional policies and guidelines regarding these issues and discuss how processes and institutional accountability can promote good practice.

Annual Winter School

The Ethox Centre, the Department of Medical Humanities of the VU University Medical Centre (Vumc) and the Department of Philosophy of VU University in Amsterdam have established a Winter School for VUmc/VU’s students on the MA Philosophy, Bioethics and Health course and Ethox’s DPhil students.

The week-long Winter School involves students giving presentations on papers published by staff members of Ethox and colleagues from the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities (WEH), and engaging in discussions about contemporary bioethical issues. The Winter School is organised by Suzanne Metselaar (VUmc), Gerben Meynen (VU) and Ruth Horn and Mehrunisha Suleman at Ethox.

Future plans are focused on expanding the Winter School into a larger student exchange programme and building stronger research collaborations between the two centres.


Together with Global Health Reviewers and the Global Health Bioethics Network, the Ethox Centre has helped to develop free e-learning materials for members of research ethics committees, particularly those in low income country settings, as well as anyone wishing to learn more about research ethics (students, researchers, public health staff, etc). E-learning modules on research ethics training, informed consent, data sharing, the ethics of genomics research in low income settings, and more can be accessed for free by following this link and logging in.  


In addition to the above, the Ethox Centre also runs occasional seminars and workshops on other topics. These are announced as events here.