PhD position on the ethical aspects of precision medicine

Host institution: Centre for biomedical ethics and law, Faculty of Medicine, University of Leuven (Belgium)

The application deadline is the 25th of June 2022

For the fourth year in row,  University of Leuven (KU Leuven) tops Thomson Reuters ranking of Europe’s most innovative universities. The Centre for Biomedical Ethics and Law (KU Leuven-CBMER) is part of the University of Leuven and is a renowned research centre in Europe with expertise in ethics, law, philosophy and close links with various medical and care disciplines.

You will be part of the broader research consortium Transys (  Transys is an Innovative Training Network (ITN) that focuses on precision medicine at the interface of translational research and systems medicine and provides 15 PhD positions (Early Stage Researchers: ESRs).

Project description

This project focuses on the emerging ethical challenges in precision medicine (PM) across the basic science-translational-clinical cycle.

The evolution in the direction of precision medicine implies ethical issues that differ from those in traditional clinical practice and research such as the attempt to control the impact of the ‘data tsunami’, the increase of ‘variants of unknown significance’, the rise of stratified medicine, the tension between individual empowerment on the one hand, and the need of medical expertise and authority on the other hand, the tension between enhancing individual interests and public health interventions for collective benefit. The proposed project will address these ethical challenges and review the literature in order see what the social and ethical ramifications are of the promises of PM; interview key stakeholders (including scientists, translational researchers, clinician researchers, policy makers, funders) in order to clarify and to deal with the moral questions of PM; and develop a PM ethics and recommendations that deal in a proper way with this new evolution.

You will be guided during your research project by Kris Dierickx, professor of biomedical ethics at KU Leuven.


Transys is looking for research candidates who are highly motivated and enthusiastic with a flexible, pro-active team spirit and a recent Master degree in the field of (bio)ethics, philosophy, life/health/biomedical sciences, social or political sciences, with interest in the ethics and governance of precision medicine.

Experience with qualitative research methods is an advantage. The candidate is required to be proficient in the English language and should be in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of his/her research career.

In addition, the applicant should not, at the time that he/she is selected by the host institution, have resided or carried out his/her work and/or studies in Belgium for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to his/her recruitment.  Find an overview of the requirements on our website:

What we offer

The selected candidates will be enrolled in a KU Leuven PhD program on a full-time basis and will receive a competitive salary in accordance with the EC MSCA regulations for early-stage researchers.

The starting date of the research project is August 2022.

Apply now for this research position: