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Bergen Centre for Ethics and Priority Setting (BCEPS)

Eirik Joakim Tranvåg

Eirik Joakim Tranvåg is a PhD researcher (2016-2021) working on priority setting for new and expensive cancer drugs in Norway.

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Personal and professional background

I am from the western part of Norway, and moved to Bergen to study medicine in 2005. Towards the end of my studies, which I finished in 2011, I signed up for afternoon classes in global health. This was not part of the curriculum at med.school, but something offered to all students at the Uni of Bergen. In this class I met Ole Frithjof, who is now my supervisor, and also Ingrid and Kjell Arne, and was first introduced to the concepts and theories in ethics and health care priority setting. 

Before my final year at med.school I approached Ole Frithjof after a class and asked if it was possible to get involved in priority setting research. In 2012, after completing the last med.school exams, I then started to work as a research assistant in Global Health Priorities, the research group that later evolved to BCEPS. My first paper was a modelling study comparing life expectancy for different population groups in Ethiopia.

During the years at Global Health Priorities, I have also completed my medical internship at a local hospital and in Bergen municipality in 2013 and 2014. In 2016 I received funding and started a four year PhD project that will be completed this spring. 

Research topic

My project investigates priority setting for new and expensive cancer drugs in Norway, and we are particularly interested in the role of biomarkers and personalized medicine in the priority setting system. This is a collaboration with Center for Cancer Biomarkers CCBIO, a Norwegian Centre of Excellence at University of Bergen. 

Priority setting for new cancer drugs is and has been a continuous subject of discussion and controversy in the public sphere, and being able to participate with new knowledge and perspectives is rewarding.

I try to continuously participate in public discussion by applying theories of ethics and priority setting to specific health care challenges.

Current research work for BCEPS

I am currently in the final phase of my PhD project, finalising my last papers and writing up the synopsis.  

Future plans

After submitting my thesis I will start working as a senior advisor at the The Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board. Here I will assist and coordinate the advisory board’s activities and contribute to an informed public discussion about ethical use of biotechnology in humans, animals, plants and micoorganisms.