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The Ethox Centre is a multidisciplinary bioethics research centre in the Nuffield Department of Population Health. Ethox aims in all its activities to be close to practice and seeks to engage with ethical issues faced by health professionals and medical researchers in real world settings. One implication of this is that the Centre places particular value on approaches to ethics research bringing together social sciences research with rigorous ethical analysis in what has come to be known as ‘empirical bioethics’. Ethox currently has major research programmes in four areas: clinical ethics, global health ethics, population health ethics, and research ethics. These main programme areas include a wide range of topic areas such as:  ethical issues in maternal and child health, ethics and genomics, ethics and “big data”, and ethical issues in the care and treatment of vulnerable adults. The Ethox Centre welcomes proposals for research projects falling under any of the Centre’s four programmes and is very happy to discuss ideas at an early stage of development.


The supervisory team will be chosen in the light of the project area and to complement the skills and experience of the primary supervisor. It is likely that both supervisors will be in NDPH but possible that supervision will be provided from elsewhere in the University such as Tropical Medicine.  The supervisors listed are a list of possible supervisors from within Ethox, applicants for this project should discuss and agree a proposal with one of the listed supervisors.

Research experience, research methods, and skills training

Doing a DPhil at the Ethox Centre generally involves the planning and completion of a critical review of the literature and the design and completion of a piece of empirical bioethics research involving qualitative social science and ethical analysis. DPhils at Ethox are primarily independent student-led research projects supported by regular, structured supervision by two members of Ethox Centre staff. Usually this is a combination of one formal supervision per month complemented by ad hoc informal support as needed. The Ethox Centre provides some research methods training in the first year along with regular work in progress seminars and Centre research meetings throughout the DPhil. The Ethox Centre provides a very friendly, supportive and exciting research environment for doctoral students and early-career researchers.

Fieldwork, secondments, indusry placements, and training

Fieldwork requirements will depend upon the nature of the approved project. It is likely, however, that students will be required to collect data in interviews or focus groups at some point during their research. In the case of global health projects, this is likely to involve some international travel.

Prospective candidate

Candidates likely to be suited to this project will be those with a strong interest in the practical ethical issues arising in medical research and or clinical practice in any of the four areas of Ethox research interest. Candidates will have an ability and an interest in conducting independent bioethics research within the context of a strongly supportive bioethics research group. Candidates are likely to have an undergraduate and/or a masters-level degree in a subject such as philosophy, bioethics, social science, medicine, or law.

Possible supervisors