"Better health for all – more fairly distributed"
On Monday 8 January, the official opening of BCEPS Centre of Excellence took place in the university aula. The centre will develop new methods and ethical frameworks to help decision-makers in ensuring a fairer distribution of health services.
How do we ensure that the world's scarce healthcare resources are distributed in the most fair and ethically acceptable manner? This is the central question for the Bergen Centre for Ethics and Priority Setting in Health (BCEPS).
In 2022, it was announced that the centre had been awarded Centre of Excellence (SFF) status by the Research Council of Norway. Out of a total of 161 applicants from all over Norway, the centre was one of nine successful initiatives.
On Monday 8 January, the official opening ceremony for the new SFF took place in the University Aula. The event featured a rich programme, including a panel debate, presentation of the centre, and a series of relevant contributions from researchers and partners from countries connected to BCEPS.
UiB Rector Margareth Hagen opened the event by emphasising the importance of the centre's highly relevant research on priority setting in health and its societal relevance both nationally and globally. She was followed by the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Per Bakke, and Bjarne Robberstad, Head of the Department of Global Health and Primary Care (IGS).
The Dean placed particular emphasis on encouraging the centre to devise a plan for collaborating with other academic communities at the university to enhance its own research.
Broad research collaboration
Since its establishment in 2019, the centre has built an extensive network of collaborators from 11 countries and 3 continents. An essential aspect of its work involves research collaboration, currently involving more than 30 researchers engaged in a diverse range of projects in Norway and abroad.
Among them is health economist Pakwanja Twea from Malawi, recruited from the Ministry of Health in Malawi and pursuing her PhD at BCEPS and UiB.
Pakwanja Twea was recruited from the Ministry of Health in Malawi and is halfway into her PhD on priority setting in health at BCEPS.
"As a decision-maker, you need research to make informed decisions. The PhD provides me with the expertise I need. I find that the degree opens up opportunities for collaboration, provides better access to information, and flexibility in choosing my own courses," she says.
Martha Enger, Vice Dean for Doctoral Education at the Faculty of Medicine, emphasises that UiB, as an institution, fulfills its mandate in this manner.
"We contribute with methodology and theories. It's great to collaborate with our stakeholders and offer education suitable for the purpose of addressing societal challenges," says Enger.
Benedicte Løseth, Executive Director for Research System and Internationalisation at the Research Council of Norway, also attended the event and presented an official plaque to BCEPS in recognition of its new status as a Centre of Excellence.
After lunch, attendees gained further insights into BCEPS's global work with video segments from India and Zanzibar. There was also time for an engaging debate on the impact of climate change on global health.
The closing remarks were delivered by health expert and Acting Deputy Director at Norad, Paul Fife. He congratulated BCEPS on its new status and commended the University of Bergen for the strong commitment shown to the new centre.
Click here to learn more about BCEPS and its work: https://www.uib.no/en/bceps