Centre for Cancer Biomarkers CCBIO
CCBIO Research School Course

CCBIO903 – Cancer research: Ethical, economic and social aspects (2023)

CCBIO903 Cancer research: Ethical, economic and social aspects focuses on ethical, economical and societal aspects of cancer and cancer research and aims to equip cancer researchers tools for reflecting on the limits, challenges and opportunities of their own research, as well as provide an understanding of the outside-the-lab context, with discussions on the broader ethical, social, economic and political implications of their research.

Doctor balancing on a stethoscope, like on a wire, high up in the sky.

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Reflecting on the challenges, limits and dilemmas of everyday research 

Researchers and clinicians in the field of cancer research and care face important uncertainties and dilemmas in the lab, regarding for instance the prioritisation of research questions or the choice of models. The uncertainties and complexity of the cancer biology make these choices difficult, and therefore involve not only scientific considerations, but also ethical and economic ones, that bear impacts on the treatment type and availability for cancer patients. 

The PhD course CCBIO903 aims to give the opportunity to PhD candidates within cancer research to discuss these uncertainties and dilemmas, and to anchor their research in its broader context. The course will focus on difficult questions such as:

  • What is considered as a 'good biomarker', and according to who?
  • How can we navigate risks, uncertainties and even ignorance, in processes of research design and clinical decision-making processes?
  • In an era of big data, what are the promises and limits of using real-world data in Health Technology Assessments?
  • How can we enrich the discussions of cancer as a biologically-measured disease, with cancer as an illness, an experience owned by the patient?
  • And finally, what does it do to our practices of producing knowledge, caring for patients, and prioritising cancer, to be guided by a vision of precision oncology?

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.

When - who - where - what

Dates: Course week 1: October 2-6, 2023, and course week 2: December 4-7, 2023.

Program: will be available at a later point.

This course gives the participants the opportunity to discuss these questions in an open and participatory way. Exam: individually supervised home essays, reflecting upon own research.

Responsible: Roger Strand and Anne Blanchard are adademic responsible for the course. Jiyeon Kang will be bringing in the perspectives from health economics. 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: Week 40: Conference room, BB-building (Jonas Lies vei 91, campus Haukeland University Hospital), opposite the auditoria. 

Week 49: Conference room, BB-building on the Monday and Thursday, and auditorium B302 in Sentralblokka (hospital main building 3rd floor) on the Tuesday and Wednesday.


Deadline is September 1, 2023. 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. Studentweb opens for registration June 19, 2023. If you are not enrolled at the UiB, you can apply for guest student status by filling in this form.