Friday, 29 August 2014

Phd funding in ethics of animal to human diseases

The chair group Philosophy at Wageningen University, The Netherlands, is seeking applications for a PhD position (fully employed) for a study on ETHICAL ISSUES IN RELATION TO PREVENTION OF ZOONOSES 

Zoonoses - infectious diseases that may spread from animals to humans - are one of the great challenges to global public health. Some important zoonoses such as avian influenza, Q-fever, MRSA, and BSE find their origin in livestock, and protection against these diseases will also affect food production. Certain infections however also spread from companion animals or wild animals to humans (toxoplasmosis, Lyme, etc.). A variety of measures can be taken to reduce the risk of zoonoses: extra hygienic measures in farms and food production, vaccination of animals, administration of antibiotics to infected animals, prophylactic use of antibiotics, isolation of farms, and the culling or hunting of animals that are sick, exposed, or otherwise risk spreading infection. 

Societal debates about these issues often focus on the easily polarized conflict between safeguarding public health versus serving the interests of agriculture and livestock farming. Although this conflict cannot be ignored, such a conceptualization easily obscures other dimensions of the risk of zoonoses. Other values and actors are at stake as well. Values like animal welfare and integrity, biodiversity, and environmental values, and actors like citizens (who consume meat and dairy products, and often appreciate living close to nature), food producers, and government. Moreover, a highly polarized debate may create obstacles to finding policies that are reasonable and fair to all stakeholders.

In this project we analyze a number of ethical issues in relation to the prevention and control of zoonoses. The general research question is how we as a society can responsibly deal with the risks of zoonoses. The emphasis is on dealing with infection risks from animal husbandry. The project includes an inventory of dilemmas in different contexts (health care, infectious disease control, livestock farming and nature conservation), an analysis of responsibilities of stakeholders, and a series of practical ethical case discussions. The project will be designed in such a way that it can take emerging cases of zoonoses into account. A more general theme will be how far we should go in eliminating risks. How should we weigh protection against risk reduction against other values, such as privacy, animal welfare and integrity, and a viable and sustainable farming?

Dilemmas concerning the prevention of zoonoses also raise a number of more theoretical questions in ethics, for example concerning the relationship between collective societal responsibility and responsibilities of individual parties (companies, consumers, farmers, hunters); the question how to deal with ethical dilemmas in non-ideal conditions (e.g. the - rapidly increasing - global demand for meat and animal production); and questions concerning the desirability and feasibility of overcoming conflicting interests through ethical reflection and deliberation. The project specifically aims at interaction with such fundamental questions.

- Master's degree in philosophy or applied ethics, with special interest in human and animal bioethics.
- Very good study results.
- Affinity with interdisciplinary research, particularly combining philosophical and empirical approaches
- Good writing and presentation skills in English; knowledge of the Dutch language is an advantage.
- An interest in assisting in teaching activities.

We offer you fulltime employment (38 hours a week) for 18 months with a possible extension of 30 months after positive evaluation. The gross salary is € 2.083,- per month in the first year and increases to € 2.664,- per month in the fourth year. (based on fulltime employment). In addition, we offer a holiday bonus of 8% and an end-of-the-year bonus of 8.3% of your annual salary.

For more information please contact Professor Marcel Verweij (>).

You can apply till 15 September 2014 (extended deadline). Candidates should upload the following information on the website
- Letter of motivation
- CV, including GPA (average grades) in your last study
- Two reference letters
- A (maximum 600 words) text in which you explain your vision on this topic and reflect on philosophical questions that you consider to be important in the study.

The Chair Group Philosophy at Wageningen University works on ethical and other philosophical issues in relation to the Wageningen domains of healthy food and living environments. In these domains we have research projects in animal and environmental ethics, public health ethics, and responsible innovation. Projects often involve cooperation with societal actors like governments, public health authorities, and research institutes like the RIVM (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment).

The Chair Group is embedded within the section Communication, Philosophy and Technology: Centre for Integrative Development in the Department of Social Sciences, Wageningen University.

PhD funding in philosophy and human sciences

CFA: Doctoral School in Philosophy and Human Sciences - University of Milan, Italy
Call for Applications

6 PhD positions (6 scholarships) in Philosophy and Human Sciences
Duration: 3 years
Language: English
Application deadline:30 September, 2014 (1 pm).

The intersection between Philosophy and Human Sciences is one of the most exciting and fast-moving contemporary scenarios. The Doctoral School in Philosophy and Human Sciences provides students with both theoretical and empirical tools for carrying out top-quality research in Philosophy and related disciplines like Anthropology, Sociology, Geography, Linguistics, the Cognitive Sciences, and Art Critics. The Doctoral School in Philosophy and Human Sciences aims at becoming a leading research centre in these fields, in Italy and abroad. There will be many opportunities for joint PhD degrees with foreign institutions, and the School will promote the mobility of faculty members and students affiliated with the partner universities.

Program Objectives
The Doctoral School in Philosophy and Human Sciences is a three-year PhD program and promotes innovative approaches to theoretical and empirical research. The program is articulated in the following activities: classes, workshops and conferences, research seminars and reading groups. During the second and third year, the Doctoral School encourages PhD students to take visiting periods abroad.

How to apply:

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Full fee bursary for PG Certificate in global health for humanitarian workers and volunteers

Special HCRI bursary - postgraduate certificate in Global Health (PG Cert)

HCRI is pleased to offer a special full-fee bursary for the PG Cert in Global Health. This bursary is open tonew applications from those who work or volunteer for the IFRC/ICRC/RCRC who apply within the period of1-28 August 2014.
Applicants must complete all sections of the PG Cert application process for this bursary. The deadline for applications is 28 August 2014, Midnight (UK-GMT).
Please note that we are still accepting applications to study the PG Cert during this period, however applicants must work or volunteer for the IFRC/ICRC/RCRC to eligible for consideration of the bursary.
Amount: £2,100 (1-year, full fee)
Eligibility criteria:
  • This bursary is tenable for one year only (commencing September 2014)
  • Applicants must be new and who work or volunteer for the IFRC/ICRC/RCRC
  • Applicants may be of any nationality
  • Candidates must have submitted an application for a place on the PG Cert programme by the bursary application deadline, 28 August 2014, Midnight (UK-GMT)
  • All elements of the application process must be received before the deadline closes. This includes the supporting statement and tailored online reference
  • The supporting statement should detail the impact the bursary award would have on the applicants and their work in the Movement.
  • Students who have already accepted full scholarships or bursaries for September 2014 entry or are already in receipt of a full scholarship or bursary are ineligible

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Ebola experimental drugs really a sideshow.

As always, the focus on health issues becomes the vaccine or drug treatment rather than figuring out how to prevent the infections and vulnerability of individuals due to physical and social environments. The WHO ethical consultation on experimental drugs has irresponsibly moved the focus of attention to drugs still in the early phases of research. Who and when will we discuss why we are in this current situation where there are no available medical interventions as well as the fact that it is controllable through non-medical interventions.

The ethical consultation also had no representatives from the countries most affected by the Ebola outbreaks.

This piece by the BBC I think does a good job covering some of the issues. Let's be clear that Ebola infections are preventable through non-medical interventions. They require social and behavioural changes.  Governments, health  institutions, and global health organizations need to focus on helping make those changes.  A continued focus on medical interventions, or lack thereof, just shows how narrow the current thinking in global health continues to be.

We also learned how incredibly counter-productive it is to implement the old 'contain and control' approach in the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.  It seems we are following the same old plan.   People who are ill or think they are ill will not want to be identified as they will worry about being quarantined or socially shunned.