Centre for Cancer Biomarkers CCBIO
CCBIO research school course

CCBIO903 course Jan-Feb 2018

CCBIO903 Cancer Research: Ethical, Economical and Societal Aspects focuses on ethical, economical and societal aspects of cancer and cancer research and aims to equip PhD candidates with tools for systematic reflection on their own and related research as well as methods for assessing the cost benefit of health measures and methods of treatment.

doctor balancing on a wire which is a stetoscope, high up in the air.
Illustration: Lightspring

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Preparing for important dilemmas and prioritisation

Researchers and clinicians in the field of cancer research and care face important dilemmas daily regarding for instance the prioritisation of research questions, or the choice between treatments for a patient. These dilemmas, involving both ethical considerations and health economics, can determine upon life and death for individual patients.

The PhD course CCBIO 903 aims to give the opportunity to PhD candidates within cancer research to discuss these dilemmas. The course will focus on aspects such as how to assess the cost-effectiveness of cancer biomarkers, how to make medical decisions when surrounded by risks, uncertainties and even ignorance, what the ‘good life’ can actually mean, and what the future may hold for cancer research. PhD candidates will be invited to reflect upon the ethical, economic and social aspects of their own research, in interaction with scholars and other students as well as in an essay.

The course will address difficult questions:

  • How can we deal with the uncertainties in the lab, while maintaining the quality of our science?
  • Which drug is more suited to a patient?
  • How can medical science contribute to debates on what is good for society?
  • How can economic models help guide health care resource allocation?

Some changes in the program may occur. See program here.

When - who

Dates: January 29th to February 2nd 2018,  and February 19th to 23rd 2018

This 9-days intensive course gives PhD candidates the opportunity to discuss these questions in an open and participatory way. Exam: individually supervised home essays, reflecting upon own research.

Instructors include John Cairns and Kelly Seo (CCBIO & London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine); Ole F. Norheim and Eirik Tranvåg (CCBIO & the Dept. of Global Public Health and Primary Care, UiB); Caroline Engen and Elisabeth Wik (CCBIO); and Roger Strand and Anne Blanchard (CCBIO & Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities, UiB).

The course provides 5 ECTS and is open to PhD candidates within cancer research - at the University of Bergen and elsewhere. Other cancer researchers as well as students at the Medical Student Research Programme at the UiB are also welcome. 

Capacity: 20 participants. Members of the CCBIO Research School have priority in the selection process.

Location will be announced (but will be at University of Bergen campus). The program will be from 09.15-15.45 each day.


First deadline 25 December 2017 –Registration for vacant places until 25 January 2018. Use this registration link.

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Also read article: Challenging life and death