What we do

We identify, analyse, and advise on ethical issues in biomedicine and health so that decisions in these areas benefit people and society.

Horizon scanning

We run a horizon scanning programme to identify developments relevant to biological and medical research and to help us select which issues to work on.

In-depth inquiries

Inquiries into developments arising from biological and medical research have been our core activity since we were established. They usually take 18-24 months, are overseen by a multidisciplinary working group chosen for that topic, and are informed by extensive consultation and research. At the end of an inquiry, we will usually publish reports including recommendations for policy and practice.


We aim to influence policy in a number of bioscience and health areas in several ways. For example, we provide summaries of ethical issues around particular topics through our bioethics briefing notes, brief parliamentarians on upcoming debates, respond to policy consultations and engage directly with policy-makers and those with interests in the areas that we work on.


We collaborate with international partners, advise international policy-makers, contribute to international meetings and conferences, and participate in networks of national bioethics advisory bodies. We monitor developments relating to our work worldwide to ensure that we are in a position to respond to international developments in bioethics.


We bring together a range of contributors from different sectors and disciplines to facilitate constructive and open debate. We organise horizon scanning workshops to explore broad developments relevant to the biosciences. We also organise workshops to explore topics of interest in more depth and gather evidence to inform a current or a potential project.