Jobs: preparing papers for the Nuffield Council on Bioethics ‘Forward Look’

Nuffield Council on Bioethics


The Nuffield Council on Bioethics is seeking individuals to support the forward planning work of the Council by preparing background papers on potential future topics.  The papers will provide background material for the Council’s Forward Look Seminar (scheduled for May 2013) where Council members together with invited experts and commentators meet to discuss in detail a number of issues with a view to deciding whether they should be taken forward as future topics.

The positions would suit individuals with experience in relevant topics and would involve providing a review of the state of the field in one of the following areas:

  • Scientific research integrity;
  • Aesthetic surgery / cosmetic enhancement;
  • Extending life / expensive treatments; and
  • Medical tourism / cross-border care

The reviews will need to identify the main ethical, legal and social issues raised by the particular developments.  A note giving more detail on what the Council considers each topic is available in the project brief.  Candidates might also wish to look at the full list of topics reviewed by the Council (note in particular the related topics at pages 7, 11, 19, 21):

It is expected that each review will be between 3,000 and 4,000 words.  The papers will be for internal Council use, though they may be published on the Council’s website, in which case authorship will be acknowledged.

In approaching the topics, authors will be asked to briefly review the ‘state of the art’, outline the main ethical and policy issues that arise, and to set out the kind of questions that the Council might helpfully address, taking account of its terms of reference, and its published criteria for considering new topics:

The Council’s terms of reference require it:

1. To identify and define ethical questions raised by recent advances in biological and medical research in order to respond to, and to anticipate, public concern;

2. To make arrangements for examining and reporting on such questions with a view to promoting public understanding and discussion; this may lead, where needed, to the formulation of new guidelines by the appropriate regulatory or other body;

3. In the light of the outcome of its work, to publish reports; and to make representations, as the Council may judge appropriate.

Selection criteria:

For a topic to be selected, it must fit the following conditions:

  • be novel: be linked to substantial new developments in medicine or biology
  • raise ethical questions and concerns of some complexity
  • be timely: the Council aims to be proactive in its selection of new topics
  • lead to a report that would be likely to have an important impact on policy or practice
  • be within the Council’s terms of reference

The closing date for applications will be Monday 4 February, and the completed reviews will be due on Friday 29 March 2013.

Skills and qualifications required

  • Graduate degree covering ethics in science, or a subject related to the above topics. Postgraduate degree or experience in a relevant subject would be a distinct advantage.
  • Good understanding of issues in bioethics and in the specific topics selected.
  • Experience of collating and summarising information and drafting documents.

Duration / Conditions

  • To take place from the mid-February (when successful candidates will be informed) to the end of March 2013.  It is expected that the individuals appointed will work remotely, but may need to visit the Council’s offices to discuss progress, in which case travel costs will be reimbursed.
  • The fee for each paper will be £1,000 (payable on the Council receiving a satisfactory paper).

Please apply in writing including:

  • CV
  • A statement of interest
  • A short sample of written work
  • Names of 2 referees

The deadline for applications is 4 February 2013
Please email or send your application to:
Carol Perkins, Secretariat Administrator, Nuffield Council on Bioethics
28 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3JS

cperkins [at]

If you would like to discuss the brief in more detail, please contact Carol Perkins in the first instance: 0207 681 9619, cperkins [at]


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