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Universities of the Witwatersrand and Johannesburg

Giving a Voice to African Thought in Medical Research Ethics

3 – 5 December 2015
Boardroom, Phillip V Tobias Health Sciences Building,University of the Witwatersrand Corner of York and St Andrew’s Roads, Parktown, Johannesburg, South Africa

Jointly hosted by the Steve Biko Centre for Bioethics, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg and the Philosophy Department, University of Johannesburg.

Supported by a grant from the South African Medical Research Council.

Keynote speaker: Prof Godfrey Tangwa of the University of Yaounde 1, Cameroon.

The focus of the Conference will be on reflecting on ethical issues in medical research through the lens of African ethical thought or philosophy, rather than merely on ethical issues affecting Africa.

The intention is to encourage new work that will apply salient sub-Saharan moral values or norms to pertinent questions in medical research ethics, thereby giving a voice to indigenous African moral perspectives.

The presentations will be organised around three main themes, although submissions may address topics in any area of medical research ethics:

1. Informed consent
This could include topics such as: individual and “community” consent, dynamic consent, therapeutic misconception, barriers to consent, the ir/relevance of autonomy.
2. Distributive justice
This could include topics such as: intellectual property rights, benefit sharing, the brain drain, indigenous knowledge, perverse incentives, ownership of tissues, resource allocation.
3. Protection of participants
This could include topics such as: research with vulnerable populations, confidentiality, standard of care, placebo-controlled studies, group harms.

Normative, metaethical, ethico-legal and empirical work will all be welcome.

The envisaged format is a workshop, intended to promote as much discussion and debate as possible. There will be no concurrent sessions, and each presentation of 30 minutes will be followed by 15 minutes for discussion.

Presentations are welcomed from academics, members of research ethics committees, medical researchers and any others with an interest in the theme of the conference.

There will be a nominal conference fee to cover the costs of refreshments and lunches.

Discussions are underway with the editor of an ISI listed bioethics journal regarding the possibility of a special issue, dedicated to a selection of papers from the conference.

Abstracts of 500 words (or, ideally, full drafts) on any subject broadly within the theme of the Conference should be submitted via email to: africanvoice@earthfriendly.co.za

Enquiries should be sent to Dr Kevin Behrens at the above e-mail address.

Closing date for submissions: 31 July 2015
Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by 31 August 2015