The department of bioethics at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has been invited to join a group of internationally-renowned academic bioethics scholars to form the Global Alliance of Biomedical Ethics Centers (GABEX). GABEX, led by the University of Tokyo Center for Biomedical Ethics and Law in Japan, formally invited Stuart J. Youngner, chair of bioethics at Case Western Reserve to serve as the university's representative on this influential panel of scholars.
"The invitation to join GABEX is a tremendous honor," Youngner said. "It places us with the elite bioethics research centers in the world."
Through a $6 million grant from the Japanese government, "Creation of a New Interdisciplinary International base for Biomedical Ethics Education and Research," the eight bioethics centers will work closely together to shape the future of bioethics and biomedical ethics from a global perspective. GABEX is a Center of Excellence within the Japan Society of the Promotion of Science (JSPS), which was established to foster young researchers, promote international scientific cooperation, award grants-in-aid for scientific research, support scientific cooperation between the academic community and industry, and collect and distribute information on scientific research activities.
Other ethics centers invited to join include: Oxford University in England; the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia; the National Institutes of Health; the Hastings Center in New York; the University of Bergen in Norway; Monash University in Australia; and the National University of Singapore.
The GABEX project has three main goals:
Part of the group's plan is to establish a scholarly exchange among the eight centers with young and senior researchers to collaborate on research, training and best practices on issues surrounding bioethics and biomedical ethics.
"The goal of this grant is to connect the world's best research centers on bioethics and biomedical ethics," Youngner said. "And this is a great opportunity for students and faculty at Case Western Reserve to study in Japan and for us to be enriched by Japanese scholars coming to spend time here."
The grant calls for the leaders of the eight centers, including Youngner, to meet together once a year to have open talks on the future of bioethics and biomedical ethics around the world. The project is designed to focus on the research strengths of each participating institution, Youngner said. The meeting would be entirely distinct from those held by UNESCO or governmental bodies such as the G8 Summit.
"We are a group of academic scholars, thus the meeting will not have political connotations," said Youngner. "Our goal is to discuss the most pressing international bioethics issues of the day. In my opinion, those that are the most urgent are global inequities in health care and the potential exploitation of developing countries by developed countries conducting research there."
Additionally, with GABEX being a large financial undertaking, the grant calls for some tangible output in the form of a book compiling the fruitful discussions arising from the conferences and fellowship system. Each participant will be required to author a chapter in the publication "to ensure the scientific quality" of the book.
The department of bioethics at the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine has as its mission to:
Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.