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July 10, 2017 0:07 , by Gabriely Mendes - | No one following this article yet.
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The Center for Studies and Research in Bioethics (NEPeB)/UNESCO CHAIR IN BIOETHICS was created in 1994 and was initially part of the "Thematic Centers" that comprised the Center for Advanced Multidisciplinary Studies (CEAM) of the University of Brasília (UnB). Due to the nature of its basic field of action - public health -, it had in its beginnings a close relationship with the Department of Collective Health of the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Brasília. The Center for Studies was officially named UNESCO Chair in Bioethics in 2005, when formally received this international academic quality certificate provided by the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO).

The University of Brasília is a federal agency linked to the Ministry of Education of Brazil (MEC). It was created by Presidential Decree in 1961, immediately after the foundation of the Brazilian capital, occupying an urban area of ​​395 hectares on the banks of Lake Paranoá. It currently has approximately 38,000 undergraduate and 8,2 thousand graduate students, who are served by 2,750 professors (96% of them with a doctorate) and 3.1 thousand technical-administrative employees, making up a total population of 53 thousand people. UnB presents in its formal structure 53 Departments, 12 Institutes and 14 Faculties. Its academic offer is about 100 undergraduate and 154 Stricto Sensu graduate courses, 85 of which are masters and 69 PhDs. In the field of research, specifically, UnB has more than 400 "Consolidated Research Groups" registered in the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), the main research funding body in the country, linked to the Ministry of Science and Technology (data source: UnB Yearbook - 2015).

The creation of the Center/Chair was a natural consequence of the Post-Doctoral Program developed with a scholarship from Capes between 1991 and 1993 by its founder and coordinator, prof. Volnei Garrafa, at the Università La Sapienza, in Rome, next to the deceased prof. Giovanni Berlinguer, former deputy and senator, respected international authority in the field of public health and bioethics, as well as former honorary president of the National Commission of Italian Bioethics and a former member of the UNESCO International Bioethics Committee. Soon after its creation, in 1994, it was the pioneer Center in the area of Bioethics in ​​the country to be formally recognized as "Consolidated Research Group" by CNPq.

With the creation of the UnB Graduate Program in Health Sciences in 1996, the Center proposed and created a Concentration Area ​​ in Bioethics within the new Program, with the regular offering of disciplines of the area. Within this context of growth, in 1998 the first Lato Sensu Graduate course of the country was created, genuinely dedicated to lay bioethics, with 375 hours of class and 30 places per year. This course continued to be offered annually until 2016, with 17 uninterrupted editions that have so far trained over 500 Bioethics specialists for Brazil and some Latin American countries.

In 2008, as a result of a construction matured by 15 years of national and international experience in the field, the Unesco Chair in Bioethics decided to propose to UnB and Capes the creation of the first Stricto Sensu Graduate Program (PPGBioética) offered in the country by a public and secular university in the modalities of masters and doctorate. With the first call for applications, PPGBioética of UnB officially began its activities in August 2008 with an initial group of 14 masters (two foreigners) and eight doctoral (two foreign), an annual offer of vacancies that has been regularly maintained until today.

Until the beginning of the first semester of 2017, PPGBioética had already received students from no less than eighteen (18) Brazilian states plus the Federal District, from south to north - including the postdoctoral modality, which began to be offered in 2014 - namely: Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Paraná, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo, Mato Grosso do Sul, Goiás, Federal District, Bahia, Alagoas, Pernambuco, Paraíba, Rio Grande do Norte, Ceará, Pará, Amazonas and Rondônia. Regarding its international insertion, the PPGBioética already counts on students from Latin America (Argentina, Colombia and Uruguay), Africa (Angola and Mozambique) and Europe (France). In its first nine calls for applications, offered between 2008 and 2016, the Program has already surpassed the hundred master's and doctoral dissertations defended, which provided approximately 500 scientific papers published in journals regularly indexed by the 18 credentialed professors and their advisers, providing an average of 2.8 publications/year/teacher between categories A1 and B2, duly recorded in the annual reports presented to Capes/MEC.

In the international context, PPGBioética has maintained a cooperative relationship with the following organisms, universities or institutions: UNESCO Latin American and Caribbean Network of Bioethics - Redbioética, with headquarters in Uruguay; International Bioethics Committee (IBC), based in Paris, France; International Society of Bioethics (SIBI), based in Gijón, Spain; International Association for Education in Ethics (IAEE), based in Pittsburgh, United States; Center for Health Care Ethics - Duquesne University, based in Pittsburgh, United States; University of Oslo, Norway; University of Malange, Angola; National Bioethics Committee for Health, Maputo, Mozambique.



The main characteristic of the Chair is the recognition and respect for moral pluralism that prevails between different countries and human societies in the 21st century. For this conceptual reference to be followed, it counts in its composition with professors and researchers from different professional areas and with varied intellectual formations and an accurate and critical view of the current world.

UnB UNESCO Chair of Bioethics/PPGBioética seeks to:

  • Develop research in Bioethics and stimulate discussion groups related to ethical, biomedical, social and legal issues;
  • Guide undergraduate and graduate students in research related to Bioethics;
  • Provide theoretical and applied training to professionals dealing with ethical issues, especially members of Healthcare/Hospital Bioethics Committees, Research Ethics and others, through courses and activities of extension, specialization, master's and doctorate in Bioethics;
  • Group scholars in applied ethics at the University of Brasília;
  • Establish exchange, collaboration and partnerships with other organisms, institutions and / or research groups in Brazil and abroad - especially in Latin America / the Caribbean and Africa - with the aim of developing new knowledge in Bioethics contextualized to the reality of each location;
  • Advise especially public bodies, but also private ones, depending on the national and international objectives, in the subjects of Bioethics;
  • Disseminate Bioethics in Brazil and abroad, whenever possible, through scientific publications, conferences, courses and participation in academic events.