Centre for Cancer Biomarkers CCBIO
CCBIO Research School Course

CCBIO903 – Cancer research: Ethical, economic and social aspects (2021)

CCBIO903 Cancer research: Ethical, economic and social 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 stethoscope, like on a wire, high up in the sky.

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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?

When - who - where - what

Dates: Course week 1: September 6-10, 2021, and course week 2: October 11-14, 2021. (NOTE: NEW DATES)

Program: will be available at a later point. (It will be similar to last year's course.)

This 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.

Responsible: John Cairns, Roger Strand and Anne Blanchard Bremer are adademic responsible for the course. Administrative coordinator is Kjetil Utvik Harkestad.

ECTS: 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. Masters degree or equivalent education level is required, with the exception of students on the Medical Student Research Program.

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

More info: See more information about the course here.

Place: Location will be announced (but will be at University of Bergen campus). We will continuously monitor the Corona situation.


Deadline is September 1, 2021. Registration for any vacant places after that will be considered. If you are already enrolled at the University of Bergen (UiB), you register through Studentweb. If you are not enrolled at the UiB, you register through Søknadsweb, where you simultaneously apply for UiB guest student status. Studentweb/Søknadsweb opens for registration July 1, 2021.