International Course on Empirical Research (1st ICER)


The education and research activities at the Instituto de Bioética (IB) of Universidade Católica Portuguesa (UCP), have an underpinning philosophy that is, among other features, to develop the skills necessary to appraise research and evidence on bioethical issues in order to inform bioethicists perspectives and clinical practice, where appropriate. We hope that the attendees of education courses and collaborating researchers of the IB develop a broad knowledge and understanding of the many ethical issues raised in nowadays societal, technologic and scientific developments. Importantly, it is expectable that these attendees and collaborating researchers also acquire the skills required both to (i) critically appraise existing and new bioethical issues and (ii) carry out their own research.

While research activities at the IB are specifically geared to bioethics research issues, this international course will focus on interdisciplinary empirical research. Therefore, special attention will be given to the attendees’ professional background and previous research experience.

The first edition of the IB International Course on Empirical Research (IB-ICER) will commence in February 2018 and end in March 2018.

Main characteristics of the IB-ICER:

  • The course is multi-professional and interdisciplinary because we wish (i) to reflect the multi-professional and interdisciplinary nature of empirical bioethics research and (ii) provide an opportunity for different professionals to learn research together.
  • The course is international because we believe that different working experiences and cultures can enhance the entirety of the course.
  • Much of the work throughout the course will relate to the attendees personal experiences and ongoing research, if applicable. Similarly, attendees will be asked to relate their research back to their own working environments and culture.
  • The course requires the attendees to do some homework to prepare case materials and undertake reading before and after the taught components of the different sessions. This is because we aim to ensure that the aspects covered reflect their experience and learning needs.
  • Sessions that include a practical component are often popular. We aim to achieve a mix of lectures, group work, workshops and seminars throughout the overall duration of the course. Individual needs will be tailored and the attendees are given the possibility to design their own individual program by registering in solely one session or in the overall duration of the course.



The IB-ICER aims to describe and illustrate the methods available to undertake research in any field related to bioethics, leaving the attendees able to understand, appraise, develop and disseminate sound research studies.

Common research methods are reviewed, including qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods. Particular attention will be given to literature reviews. Other issues involved in designing and conducting successful studies are also covered; these include reporting guidelines, research ethics, research integrity, presentation of research results, writing scientific articles and societal dissemination of research findings.


Learning outcomes

  1. To be able to judge whether the conclusions drawn from a research study are justified, given the methods used and results presented.
  2. To be able to carry out focused, comprehensive literature searches.
  3. To be able to design research studies to address issues in bioethics or in any related field, including the selection of the appropriate experimental or nonexperimental design.
  4. To understand the differences between quantitative and qualitative research, and the advantages and disadvantages of both.
  5. To be able to assess the reliability and validity of instruments.
  6. To understand and address ethical and practical problems that may be encountered when conducting research in bioethics or related fields.
  7. To be able to write a research protocol and follow the proper reporting guideline.
  8. To be able to present research findings within the scientific community.
  9. To be able to share research findings to the wide and lay society.
  10. To be able to write a research paper and get it published.


Course assessment and certification

The course awards 7 ECTS to the attendees who complete 80% the sessions and perform a written assignment.

Attending the course and completing the written assignment will provide the attendee with a certificate – diploma mentioning the attribution of 7 ECTS. These 7 ECTS can be used in any MSc or PhD course offered by the IB in the future.
The written assignment consists in an individual paper focused on one specific topic/session linked to ongoing research activities of the attendee. The specific topic will be defined together with the course coordinators at the end of the course. The written assignment will be subject to evaluation, using the “Approved/Non-approved” evaluation system.

Attending all the 10 sessions of the course without completing the written assignment will award the attendee with a certificate of attendance.

Participants who (i) attend individual sessions of the IB-ICER solely (regardless of how many), (ii) attend one-day Seminar(s) or (iii) attend the two-day Seminar will be awarded with certificate(s) of attendance.

Área de Estudos: 
Grau de Ensino: 
Formação Avançada
Campus Foz

Health and social care professionals, health scientists, health services researchers, health care researchers, social scientists, social services researchers, social care researchers, bioethicists, empirical bioethics researchers

Vacancies: 25

Registration model/optionRegistration fee
Registration and attendance in all the 10 sessions IB-ICER375€
Registration and attendance in IB-ICER individual sessions40€/session
Registration and attendance in Session 9 (1-Day Seminar)50€
Registration and attendance in Session 10 (1-Day Seminar)50€
Registration and attendance in Sessions 9 & 10 (2 Days Seminar)85€

Discount will be applied if the attendees meet the following specific conditions:

  • 25% discount if employee or student at the UCP
  • 15% discount if MSc or PhD student in any other university

In both these situations, the applicant needs to prove his/her specific condition to benefit from the discount.


Scientific Coordination: Sandra Martins Pereira and Pablo Hernández-Marrero (IB-UCP)
Executive Coordination: Joana Araújo (IB-UCP)


Universidade Católica Portuguesa - Porto
Serviços Académicos - Gabinete de Estudos Avançados e Formação
Rua Diogo Botelho, 1327 | 4169-005 Porto
Telefone: 22 619 62 43