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. Its core aims are to give voice to low- and middle- income country (LMIC) perspectives in debates about global health research ethics and to promote collaboration.

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 LMICs;
  • 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 Organization, Switzerland; Michael Parker, Oxford University, UK; Anna Chiumento, Liverpool University, UK; Teck Chuan Voo, National University of Singapore, Singapore; Phaik Yeong Cheah, Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit, Thailand; Sharon Kaur, University of Malaya, Malaysia; Anant Bhan, Yenepoya University, India;  Jantina De Vries, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Caesar Atuire, University of Ghana, Ghana; Ross Upshur, University of Toronto, Canada; Carla Saenz, Pan American Health Organisation, USA; Paul Ndebele, George Washington University, USA; Ana Palmero, National Ministry of Health, Argentina.

Funder member representatives: Rachel Knowles, UK Medical Research Council, UK; Barbara Sina, Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health, USA and Dan O’Connor, Wellcome, 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 2022 Planning Committee are:

  • Rachel Adams, African Observatory on Responsible Artificial Intelligence, South Africa
  • Joe Ali, Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, USA
  • Caesar Atuire, University of Ghana, Ghana (GFBR Steering Committee Member)
  • Niresh Bhagwandin, South African Medical Research Council (local host representative)
  • Phaik Yeong Cheah, Oxford University and MORU, Thailand (GFBR Steering Committee Member)
  • Judy Gichoya, Emory University & DATA Scholar for DS-I Africa, USA
  • Armando Guio, Berkman Klein Centre for Internet & Society, Harvard University, USA
  • Daudi Jjingo, College of Computing & College of Health Sciences, Makerere University, Uganda
  • Katherine Littler, Global Health Ethics & Governance Unit, WHO, Switzerland (GFBR Steering Committee Member)
  • Tamra Lysaght, University of Singapore, Singapore
  • Daniela Paolotti, ISI Foundation, Italy
  • Jay Shaw, University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics, Canada
  • Effy Vayena, Health Ethics and Policy Lab, Institute of Translational Medicine, ETHZ, Switzerland 

Who supports the GFBR?

Funding is provided by The Wellcome Trust, the National Institutes of Health, the UK Medical Research Council and the South Africa Medical Research Council.

The Secretariat for the GFBR is provided by the World Health Organization.

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)