(Vienna, 30 January 2020) The UNESCO Chair in Bioethics is to stay at MedUni Vienna. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the Medical University of Vienna have extended their joint collaboration for a further four years. The Chair is concerned with social and ethical questions around scientific advances.
By setting up the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics in 2016, the Medical University of Vienna and UNESCO jointly established the first academic institution of this kind at an Austrian university. In keeping with the aims of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), the Chair, under the leadership of Christiane Druml, Head of MedUni Vienna's medical collections in the Josephinum and Chair of the Federal Chancellor's Bioethics Commission, works closely on matters of bioethics with other universities and with non-university institutions both in Austria and abroad.
Bioethics becoming increasingly important
Bioethics grapples with the fundamental questions of existence, such as the beginning and end of life. It therefore covers a broad spectrum of research areas. "As a global organisation, UNESCO sets an example for promoting the globalisation of the bioethics debate and supports this with its own programmes," says Christiane Druml. "Over the course of the past few decades, science and research have led to enormous advances in medicine and biosciences and have thrown up many new social questions. Bioethics addresses these questions, such as genetic interventions in humans, medicine and artificial intelligence or epidemics and human rights, and tries to find answers to them.
The UNITWIN/UNESCO Chair programme was launched in 1992 to anchor UNESCO's thematic fields within the universities. It promotes research, education and development of universities, in that it connects them via networks, thereby enabling cross-border collaboration. There are now more than 600 UNESCO Chairs worldwide, seven of which are located in Austria. The Chair at MedUni Vienna has fulfilled its role over the past few years by implementing numerous projects and events.