Conference Report: 16th World Congress of Bioethics 2022

Guy Schofield received an IME ECA grant to present to the IAB 16th World Congress of Bioethics in Basel, July 2022. Read Guy's summary below as an example of how awardees might benefit from IME grants.

By lorrainep · January 22, 2024

I am very grateful for the funding that allowed me to travel to Basel and present this work from my PhD.

The learning/benefit started before arriving, as the funding allowed me to spend a little more on travel than the bare minimum, which allowed me to travel overland to Basel by train, rather than having to fly. This allowed me to take my Brompton bike with me so I was much more independent once I was there. This highly positive experience has resulted in my changing my travel patterns to Europe, and prioritizing train travel going forward, so there was long-lasting benefit from this.

The conference was hugely beneficial in itself of course. From the narrower perspective of presenting my abstract ‘Defining ethical challenge(s) in healthcare research: a rapid review’  to a room of bioethicists with an interest in methodology in bioethics research – I was able to get feedback from global colleagues that I could not have got locally. Their comments were useful as constructive feedback of the work itself, but also as reassurance to me a junior researcher who had undertaken this as a side project to my main PhD, that that strand of work had real utility for colleagues, and helped give me confidence in my research ideas. This confidence has directly led to one of my current rapid review projects.

The broader conference and its component sessions also helped with my development as to where I place myself going forward – a core area that those who know me have heard me reflect on repeatedly over the years. I feel I straddle (and therefore risk falling between) two stools – bioethics and clinical palliative care. To see clinicians and ethicists present at the conference – the style, the focus of their work, and the way they respond to questions from audience members of different academic and global backgrounds, was instructive in terms of role modelling, research focus, and methodologies. This experience has stuck with me and been informative as I’ve made decisions around my research career since the IAB conference. The palliative care ethics research arena is small, and it is key to bring things learnt outside it back to it I think – and this conference was an excellent opportunity for this process.

The keynotes were notable for their content and style. Bioethics is broad is scope, and with a full time clinical role, it is hard to keep abreast of the latest developments. The conference gave me a period of time free of clinical responsibilities to listen and think about areas of ethics not directly adjacent to my practice – a real privilege for me.

Finally the non-session elements of the conference – I was lucky enough to be given a bursary place to the conference dinner by the organisers – were also core learning opportunities. I was able to meet and talk to senior academics from both the UK and globally. Included in the UK contingent were bioethics colleagues working in medical schools – again, hugely beneficial for me.

Therefore, I want to re-iterate my sincere thanks to the committee for this grant and the opportunities it funded.