About the GFBR

The Global Forum on Bioethics in Research (GFBR) exists to provide a global platform for the exchange and sharing of experience and expertise on research ethics among researchers, research policy makers and ethicists, among others. The GFBR also facilitates debate on ethical, social, legal and public policy issues related to health research, and specifically of research involving countries from the north conducting research in the south.

The purpose, history and future functioning of the GFBR is described in the 2014 article ‘The Global Forum for Bioethics in Research – Past, present and future‘.

The essential values of the GFBR include:

  • the promotion of ethically conducted research;
  • respect for the differences between many stakeholders in research – both geographical, cultural, and scientific;
  • the importance of bringing these together for mutual learning;
  • the urgency of capacity building in health research ethics review in many low- and middle-income countries;
  • the need for partnership between north and south in capacity building in ethics and ethical review in the south.

Who sits on the Steering Committee?

Katherine Littler, World Health Organisation, Switzerland; Michael Parker, Oxford University, UK; Rachel Knowles, UK Medical Research Council, UK; Carla Saenz, Pan American Health Organisation, USA; Barbara Sina, Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health, USA; Ross Upshur, University of Toronto, Canada; Paul Ndebele, George Washington University, USA; Teck Chuan Voo, National University of Singapore, Singapore and Phaik Yeong Cheah, Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit, Thailand; Anant Bhan, Yenepoya University, India;  Jantina De Vries, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Ana Palmero, National Ministry of Health, Argentina and Dan O’Connor, UK.

What are the aims of GFBR meetings?

  • To maintain and strengthen the protection of human participants in health research.
  • To provide a forum for low- and middle-income country perspectives on ethical issues in research.
  • To explore opportunities to enhance capacity for ethical review of research.
  • To create a context for research involving human participants in which scientists, ethicists, community representatives, policy-makers, industry, and other relevant stakeholders can address ethical issues in ways that allow expeditious long-term joint management of research protocols.

These aims are kept under review and refined at the Steering Committee of Partners meeting held during each meeting.

How are the GFBR meetings planned?

A Planning Committee is convened to support the annual GFBR meeting, including members with expertise and experience in relation to the meeting theme. The Committee reviews the applications to attend and present at the meeting and advises on the development of the meeting agenda. Members of the 2020 Planning Committee are:

Katherine Littler, World Health Organisation, Switzerland; Anna Chiumento, Liverpool University, UK; Rosemary Musesengwa, Oxford University, UK; Dan Stein, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Caesar Atuire, University of Ghana, Ghana; Dixon Chibanda, African Mental Health Research Initiative; Charlotte Hanlon, Kings College London and Addis Ababa University, based in Ethiopia; Eleni Misganaw, Global Mental Health Peer Network and Mental Health Service Users’ Association, Ethiopia; Ross Upshur, University of Toronto, Canada; David Wendler, Department of Bioethics, NIH Clinical Centre, USA; Kaustubh Joag, Indian Law Society, India; Sharon Kaur, University of Malaya, Malaysia, Ana Palmero, Ministry of Health, Argentina and Karen Athie, Health Secretariat of the Rio de Janeiro State Government and Global Mental Health Peer Network, Brazil.

Who supports the GFBR?

Funding is provided by The Wellcome Trust, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the UK Medical Research Council.

The Secretariat for the GFBR is currently provided by the Wellcome Trust.
Prior to 2009 the Secretariat was hosted by COHRED, supported by a grant from the Science and Society programme of the EU’s 6th Framework Programme on science and technology.

Who are the GFBR’s past and current partners?

Aga Khan University (AKU)
Canadian Institutes of Health Research / Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada (CIHR – IRSC)
Council on Health Research for Development (COHRED)
European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP)
Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO)
Health Research Council of New Zealand
Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM)
Medical Research Council-United Kingdom (MRC UK)
National Institutes of Health-Fogarty International Center (NIH-FIC)
Vilnius University
Wellcome Trust
World Health Organisation (WHO)
Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO)