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Nuffield Council on Bioethics

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics is an independent body that examines and advises on ethical issues arising from developments in bioscience and health. It was established by the Trustees of the Nuffield Foundation in 1991, and since 1994 it has been funded jointly by the Foundation, Wellcome and the Medical Research Council.

The Council has achieved an international reputation for advising policy makers and stimulating debate in bioethics.

Nuffield Council on Bioethics’ terms of reference


  1. Identify and define ethical questions raised by recent developments in biological and medical research that concern, or are likely to concern, the public interest.

  2. Make arrangements for the independent examination of such questions with appropriate involvement of relevant stakeholders.

  3. Inform and engage in policy and media debates about those ethical questions and provide informed comment on emerging issues related to or derived from the Council’s published or ongoing work.

  4. Make policy recommendations to Government or other relevant bodies and to disseminate its work through published reports, briefings and other appropriate outputs.

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We aim to improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

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