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The Global Health Bioethics Network (GHBN) is a collaboration between the Wellcome Trust Africa and Asia Programmes (AAPs) in Kenya, Thailand-Laos, South Africa, Vietnam, and Malawi, the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and the Ethox Centre at the University of Oxford. Additional collaborators include the Ethics Lab at the University of Cape Town, the University of Ghana, the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) in Brazil, and the Wellcome Trust Brighton and Sussex Centre for Global Health Research.

The GHBN aims to build the capacity of all partners and collaborators to identify and address ethical issues arising in their research; promote and support research on practical ethical issues relating to global health research and practice, and, more broadly, to promote ethical reflection across the sites.

Global Health Bioethics Network

The Network is an effective and responsive platform for the achievement of high ethical standards in global health research. Reflecting the three aims set out above, and building on a well-established set of institutional connections and commitments to working together, the platform comprises three core activities: capacity- building; support for and co-ordination of ethics research; and the provision of ethics advice to scientific researchers. These activities are closely related and interdependent.



Over the first 10 years of its existence, the GHBN has established itself as an internationally respected global health bioethics research network. Its activities have included:

  • An annual global health bioethics summer school
  • Funding of more than 40 small-scale research projects in LMICs through a peer-reviewed bursary scheme
  • Support for PhD students in Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Vietnam, Ghana, Thailand, Nepal, Cambodia, and Uganda
  • Creation of postdoctoral researcher positions at each of the LMIC partners
  • Establishment in 2015 of the biennial Oxford Global Health Bioethics Conference
  • Building a platform for successful funding applications for large scale collaborative research projects
  • Development of on-line training materials

Read our Celebrating 10 years report for further details of GHBN's activities.

At the heart of the GHBN’s activities to support emerging bioethics expertise is its bursary scheme, which is a peer-reviewed mechanism for the provision of small grants (usually around £10,000) to enable early-career researchers in LMICs to conduct small scale, collaborative research projects with local and international mentorship. The bursary scheme is complemented by an Annual Summer School, which provides additional support and training for bursary holders, a space for the generation of collaborative research projects, peer support for more senior researchers, and ethics clinics for scientists. Summer schools have taken place every year since 2012, each attracting around 50 delegates from around 20 countries reflecting the many research partnerships of the AAPs. In order to encourage even wider participation in the GHBN and a broader range of perspectives and ideas and connections with other groups, from 2024 a small number of competitively available widely advertised places at the annual summer school will be open to participants from LMICs other than the partners and collaborators.

In addition to the Summer School, the Network also runs regional training workshops in research methods and on practical ethical issues in global health.

In the next phase of GHBN, a new generation of early career researchers will be appointed. The precise focus of the research activities they undertake will depend to some extent upon the interests of the applicants themselves and also upon the issues seen as pressing at the AAPs and collaborating centres. However, some of the issues we expect to be explored are:

  • Ethics of interventions to address the growth of antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
  • Ethics and pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response as these activities impact on LMICs
  • Ethical issues of clinical trials in LMICs
  • Issues relating to migrant health ethics
  • Mental health research ethics
  • Justice and decolonisation in global bioethics research
  • Ethics of digital health
  • Ethics around artificial intelligence (AI)


The Network provides a robust and flexible platform for ethics research in two main ways. Firstly, through its bursary scheme important locally-relevant research ideas are identified and nurtured as small ‘seed’ projects, with the aim that these will go on to form the basis for grant applications for larger projects or PhD projects. Secondly, through the institutional connections and commitments to working together it has established, the Network has proved itself capable of generating collaborative research in global health bioethics with international impact.

Global Health Bioethics Network - 1


The third component of the Network’s research platform is the provision of timely ethics support and advice for the scientists at the lead partner and collaborating partner sites, and their research collaborators. This is provided in many different ways. Perhaps the most innovative of these has been the ethics clinics where scientists present their work and, together with members of the Network, identify, analyse and address practical ethical issues in workshop sessions. The Network also provides ethics training days for researchers and local ethics committees.

Global Health Bioethics Network - 2


The Global Health Bioethics Network is co-ordinated by the Ethox Centre at the University of Oxford. For more information about the Network and its activities, please contact Dinnah Bogecho on or Mike Parker on

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