The Monash Bioethics Centre addresses core ethical questions that arise in healthcare, science and technology to shape the social world in years to come. The core vision of the Centre is to contribute to creating a more ethical society, in which the potential of systems, technologies and policy is harnessed to promote health, wellbeing, and equity for all. Established in 1980 by Professor Peter Singer as Australia's first research centre devoted to bioethics (then named the Centre for Human Bioethics), it has developed into an international leader in the field.

We undertake groundbreaking research that influences policy and regulation, and has impact within delivery systems for health and wellbeing. Our research informs international and national scholarly debate, policy development and implementation and public understanding of the ethical dimensions of health, technology and society.

In education, at both undergraduate and graduate levels, we strive to build the next generation of thought leaders in ethics through up to date curricula delivered in ways that integrate innovative teaching modes and technologies.

In ethics leadership, we strive for community engagement to shape public debate on contemporary challenges, provide upskilling opportunities for current and future professionals in relevant areas and increase ethics literacy across society. The status of the Centre as a WHO Collaborating Centre is a central aspect of our national and international engagement.

From the Director, John Gardner:

We live in an uncertain and rapidly changing world. Rapid technological development in healthcare and biomedicine, the proliferation of biotech markets, and the entrenchment of global health inequalities all present complex ethical, social and policy challenges. Bioethics has therefore never been more relevant than it is today. It gives us the tools to understand how best to respond to a diversity of health needs and to ensure a more equitable world for everyone.
Studying bioethics with us will equip you with the expertise to explore and navigate complex ethical, social and policy challenges in healthcare, biomedicine and related fields. Our experts also help organisations to manage these challenges as they arise in specific institutional settings. As Australia’s leading centre for bioethics research and teaching, the Monash Bioethics Centre makes a difference.

Centre History

Established in 1980, the Centre quickly became known for its practical and secular approach to bioethics. The Centre’s founder, Peter Singer and colleague Helga Kuhse drew on empirical research to challenge aspects of existing medical practice and familiar assumptions in debates about reproduction. Projects on the ethics of IVF and embryo research, in the context of groundbreaking work by Monash IVF researchers, resulted in some of the first published work on these topics. Singer and Kuhse also developed influential critiques of a reliance on sanctity-of-human-life views by health professionals and lawmakers in justifying medical decisions at the beginning and end of life.

Since 1981 the Centre has also been producing the quarterly journal Monash Bioethics Review (originally titled Bioethics News), the first peer reviewed bioethics journal based in Australia, and one of the world’s oldest bioethics journals.

In 1989 the Centre developed one of the world’s first Master of Bioethics programs, which has produced hundreds of graduates, and many of the Centre’s doctoral and Masters graduates have become highly successful bioethicists in their own right.

Today, the Centre hosts a thriving community of student and academic researchers, who engage in scholarly, public and policy debates around core and cutting edge issues in biomedicine, technology and healthcare ethics.