Nordic Committee on Bioethics (NCBIO)

The theme of the work of NCBIO is bioethics, with special reference to issues in life sciences, biotechnology, medicine, governance, society, and practical philosophy. The committee also considers bioethics to include dilemmas that arise in health care.

The Nordic Committee on Bioethics is under the auspices of NordForsk since 1 January 2014. The Committee has two members from each Nordic country, as well as observers from The Faroe Islands and Åland Islands.

The Committee’s aim is to advance a multidisciplinary dialogue, thus its members represent, for instance, philosophy, medicine, sociology, biology, biotechnology, theology, and law.


  • To highlight contemporary bioethical challenges facing the Nordic countries
  • To be a platform for debating urgent bioethical challenges. The target groups include specialists, politicians, researchers, opinion leaders, the public and interest groups
  • To foster Nordic cooperation on bioethical challenges in current and future policy making
  • To survey changes in legislation and policy with potential of bioethical concerns
  • To give a Nordic perspective internationally

Read more about NCBIO (external link)



The moral status of stem cell-derived embryo models, Reykjavik. The event was organised as a two-day workshop and mini symposium. Researchers from the Nordics and beyond, with expertise in stem cells- and embryonic research, ethics and law shared their research and reflections on the topic. Members of the bioethics committees in the Nordics and researchers working within the field were invited to the workshop. The symposium was in collaboration with the Graduate program in molecular life sciences, BioMedical Center (BMC) at the University of Iceland.

Ethical Perspectives on Health Impacts of Climate Change, Umeå, Sweden. The event was organised as a two-day conference at Folkets hus. The aim was to identify ethical perspectives on health impacts of climate change from different fields such as in bioethics, medical epidemiology, global and urban health, and moral philosophy.

The Ethics of Pandemics, Lessons Learned, Bergen, Norway. A two-day conference. The aim was to identify ethical aspects of the pandemic, to look at policies and debates with a view to differences and similarities between the countries.

Webinar series: Ethics of the Covid-19 Pandemic – Nordic Perspectives, digital.
During 2020 and 2021, NCBIO was hosting a webinar series on bioethical aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Nordic countries. The aim was to identify ethical aspects of the pandemic, to look at policies and debates with a view on differences and similarities between the countries.

The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare and Research, Odense, Denmark.

DNA in police work. New methods. New challenges?, digital.
Over three days, speakers from a diversity of areas such as forensic science, crime investigation, law, biochemistry and anthropology, discussed the ethical issues and developments in the practice and regulation of DNA in police work.

Ethics of health care and research in small-scale communities, Torshavn, Faroe Islands.

A Kodak moment? The effects of consumer genetics on medicine and society. The seminar was a collaboration between NCBIO and The Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board and part of the the 33rd European conference on philosophy of medicine and health care: Philosophy and ethics at the edge of medicine.

Bioethics of clinical innovation and unproven methods, Copenhagen. The conference was organised by the Nordic Committee on Bioethics in collaboration with Centre for Legal Studies in Welfare and Market at the University of Copenhagen.


Bioethical perspectives on new developments in non-invasive prenatal diagnosis (NIPD):
Session at the World medical association conference on medical ethics, Reykjavik.

Lifestyle diseases: Responsibility and Ethics, Helsinki.

Session at the Nordic Societal Security Initiative Conference, Copenhagen.

Session at #NeIC2017: Bioethics of Databanks and Datasharing, Umeå.

Facing Death: End of life decisions – Reykjavik.

Hard Choices in Nordic Health Care 2.0, Stockholm.

Biotechnology for a longer life, Aalborg.

Gene therapy and human germline editing: New opportunities, new challenges, Oslo

Session on Sensitive Data at #NeIC2015, Helsinki, session at the Nordic e-Infrastructure Conference.

Ethical Dilemmas of Consuming Animals, Helsinki.

Hard Choices in Nordic Health Care – Expensive treatments and priority settings, Stockholm.

Session on Neurological Enhancement, Helsinki.

Synthetic Biology; Bioethics and Biosafety, Tromsø.

Whole-genome sequencing and the implications for health care – Do we have a right not to know?, Reykjavik.

Reproductive technology and surrogacy. A global perspective, Reykjavik, which also included a PhD session.

The committee participated, with the title «The role of the press and the public in exposing scientific and medical fraud», in the World Conference of Science Journalists in Helsinki.

Perspectives on Sexual Identity and Gender, a workshop on bioethical issues in relation to sexual identity and gender was arranged in Copenhagen.

Regulating surrogacy in the Nordic countries, Copenhagen.

Childrens’s Participation and Decision-Making in Medical Matters, Lund.

Hunting and Protecting of Marine Mammals – a Clash of Cultures? Faroe Islands.

Ethical aspects on Mental Health, Helsinki.

Nordic Biobanks – Opportunities and Obstacles, Uppsala in cooperation with The Centre for Research Ethics & Bioethics at Uppsala University and BioBanking and Molecular Resource Infrastructure of Sweden.

Joint meeting for bioethical committees in the Nordic countries, Copenhagen.

Prenatal Diagnosis – Individuals and Society, Oslo.

Public Health – Ethical Issues, Reykjavik.

Bioethics of Bioenergy, in cooperation with The Finnish Parliament, Helsinki.

Medical Tourism – Exploitation of vulnerable persons or a healthy supplement to the Nordic health care system?, Sigtuna, Sweden.

Genetic Self Testing, Aarhus University, Denmark.

Chimera Research – ethical and legal aspects, in cooperation with The Danish Council of Ethics and The Danish Ethical Council for Animals, Copenhagen.

Teaching Material in Bioethics, a workshop, Oslo.

Bioethics of the Sea II
In cooperation with The cooperation in Fisheries and Aquaculture the committee organized a seminar in Stockholm on bioethical issues concerning Nordic fisheries

Dialogue on Dignity, Disability, Discrimination and Diagnostics, Reykjavik.

Bioethics or biopolitics? Is bioethics being replaced by biopolitics or vice versa? Hanaholmen, Esbo, Finland.

Business and Bioethics Seminar in Malmö

Informed consent – in whose interest? minisymposium, Sandhamn.

Nordic Biolaw – Focus on Assisted Reproduction, Hanaholmen in Finland

Bioethics of the Sea, Bergen, Norway.

Towards Nordic Biopolitics?, arranged by the Nordic Council and the Nordic Committee on Bioethics, Copenhagen.

Bioprophecy – the future of ethics and biotechnology. Think tank for invited participants in Denmark.

Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis and Embryo Selection. International conference in Reykjavik

Biomedical Research Ethics, a workshop for specialists in bio- and research ethics from the Nordic and Baltic countries in Finland.

Teaching Bioethics: A Nordic workshop on how to best teach bioethics, Gentofte, Denmark.

The ethical issues in human stem cell research

Who owns our genes?, Tallinn, Estonia.

Bioethics committees in the Nordic countries


Transgenic animals and xenotransplantation

Gene therapy

Predictive genetic testing

Genetically modified organisms

Patenting life?

Risk, biotechnology and ethics


Legislation on biotechnology in the Nordic countries – an overview, 2022
Legislation on biotechnology in the Nordic countries – an overview, 2019
Legislation on biotechnology in the Nordic countries - an overview 2018
Legislation on biotechnology in the Nordic countries – an overview, 2017
Legislation on biotechnology in the Nordic countries - an overview 2016
Legislation on biotechnology in the Nordic countries - an overview 2015
Legislation on biotechnology in the Nordic countries - an overview 2014
Legislation on biotechnology in the Nordic countries - an overview 2006

Annual reports (only available in Swedish)

Verksamhetsberättelse 2013
Verksamhetsberättelse 2012
Verksamhetsberättelse 2011
Verksamhetsberättelse 2010
Verksamhetsberättelse 2008
Verksamhetsberättelse 2007
Verksamhetsberättelse 2006
Verksamhetsberättelse 2005

Other publications

Reproductive Technology and Surrogacy, A Global Perspective, 2015
Children’s Participation and Decision-Making in Medical Matters, 2013
Hunting and Protecting of Marine Mammals – a Clash of Cultures?, 2013
Ethical aspects of mental health, 2012
Public Health – ethical issues, 2011
Consumer Medicine, 2010
Bioethics, Politics and Business, 2008
Stem Cell Research in the Nordic Countries, 2007
Assisted Reproduction in the Nordic Countries. A comparative study of policies and regulation, 2006
PGD and Embryo Selection, Report from an International Conference on Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis and Embryo Selection, 2006

Mot en nordisk biopolitikk? Rapport fra seminar om bioteknologi og bioetikk, 2005
How to best teach bioethics, 2004