The Institute of Medical Ethics (IME) Annual Seminar Competition 2020

The Research Committee of the Institute of Medical Ethics (IME) is currently inviting submissions for the third round of its annual seminar competition (2019/2020). The closing date for applications is Monday 2nd December 2019.  This scheme funds projects in the region of £2,500-£3,500, and it is expected that approximately 3-4 awards will be made. The IME is a UK charitable organisation dedicated to improving education and debate in medical ethics, by ‘promoting and supporting the impartial study and understanding of medical ethics and its integration into clinical practice through education, research, and publication.’ The IME’s core aim, since its inception, is to raise ethical standards in clinical practice, not by prescribing those standards, but by promoting dialogue, teaching and research in medical ethics.

The research competition has attracted a large amount of interest and the diversity and range of events we have funded is testimony to the rich and vibrant research being done in the area of bioethics in the UK. So far the competition has funded six seminars on:

  • Graphic Medicine Conference 2019: Gender, Sexuality and Ethics
  • The ethical implications of improvement science research and practice: developing a research agenda
  • Abuse In Assisted Reproductive Technology: Exploratory Workshop Investigating Definition and Research Directions
  • Social media & the practitioner-patient relationship: A seminar on trust in a networked society
  • Decision-making at the beginning and end of life: Examining whether and how advance planning documents facilitate improved patient-centred decision-making in maternity and palliative care settings
  • Reconceiving the womb in medicine, law & society

To focus in on three of the events.

In April 2019 Dr Lucy Frith, (University of Liverpool), organised a one-day workshop that aimed to explore the ethical aspects of improvement science, with Professor Vikki Entwistle (National University of Singapore); Professor Alan Cribb (Kings College London) and Professor Stacy Carter, (University of Wollongong). It has been noted that improvement science and health services research in general do not sufficiently engage with the ethical aspects of their work.  The workshop explored what a research agenda to bring the normative, philosophical and evaluative aspects of the social world into the discipline of improvement science might look like. The workshop enabled the beginning of a conversation and the team plans to establish a network to develop a research agenda on improvement science and ethics.

The social media and the practitioner-patient relationship seminar was held in July 2019 in Bristol, organised by Dr Patricia Neville and aimed to promote inter-disciplinary dialogue among academics, researchers and clinicians from different disciplines interested in how digital technology and social media is shaping professional healthcare practice in the 21st century. The goal was to use this event as a pump-priming activity and create a multidisciplinary research network to pursue this topic and produce preliminary ideas for further grant bids, and position papers.

The Graphic Medicine Conference was held between 11th and 13th July 2019 at the University of Brighton. The conference was hosted by Professor Bobbie Farsides, Dr Ian Williams and Dr Muna Al-Jawad from Brighton and Sussex Medical School. The theme payed attention to ethical and social issues at the intersection of comics and medicine. The title was “Que(e)rying Graphic Medicine: Paradigms, Power and Practices”. At a time when discussions around gender and identify have become extremely difficult with polarised views and some people feeling silenced by the polarisation, the conference provided a space for civilised discussion and debate without shying away from challenging issues.

The next event is ‘Decision-making at the beginning and end of life.’ This event will examine whether and how advance planning documents facilitate improved patient-centred, autonomous decision-making in maternity and palliative care settings. This will be held at Leicester University, February 11th, 2020, at the conference venue, College Court. See the IME website and contact Dr Alexis Paton for more details.

Look out for further seminars funded by this scheme (on the IME website) and come along, they are a great way of seeing what is going on in this field, and if you have any ideas for running your own event, see application details below.

Click here for further details, and to apply for funding.

Click here to become a member of the IME.


Dr Lucy Frith

Chair of the IME Research Committee



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