Forgot password?

The Fondation Brocher is an essential player in this vital thinking process: one which will help make us aware of the real challenges in using our resources for maximum impact on the health of the people of the world.



Professor Daniel Wikler, Harvard University


The Brocher Foundation is a Swiss non-profit private foundation  recognized of public interest. Your donations are tax deductible according to the regulations in force.

Next edition


20 - 24 juin 2016

Brocher Summer Academy in Population-level Bioethics: Ethical Design of Randomized Studies in Developing Countries



  • Hurst Samia, Institut Ethique, Histoire, Humanités, MD, FMH, Professor
  • Wikler Dan
  • Nir Eyal
  • Anders Huitfeldt

The idea of subjecting public polices is not new – it was proposed by the philosopher Karl Popper in the 1940s – but for many decades these tests were the rare exception. This is changing rapidly. Today, communities in low-income countries are randomized to gauge the effect of different pricing policies for the use of mosquito nets, and alternative delivery methods for education, microfinance, and even sanitation are subjected to RCTs to determine which is most effective.

These and other ethical issues in RCTs are familiar to those who have carried out RCTs of new drugs and therapeutic approaches. Indeed, a rich and complex body of commentary and regulation has developed to govern these RCTs, and with them have come default positions, common expectations, and “best practices.”

But it is by no means self-evident that the moral basis for constraints on pharmaceutical RCTs entails a similar regime for RCTs by health and development economists. The case for and against needs to be aired, examed, criticized, and debated. And this must be carried out not for the entire corpus of regulations and norms but individually, for each such requirement.

<span 11.000000pt;="" font-family:="" 'calibri'"="" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">The Brocher Summer Academy in Global and Population Health 2016 will provide the occasion for the necessary interdisciplinary discussion. We will bring together empirical development economics investigators, leaders in development policy, epidemiologists, philosophers, medical research ethicists, biolaw scholars, and public health ethicists, to debate the ethics of development economics RCTs and the best approach to their review and regulation. We will aim to foster debate, and should a consensus emerge, perhaps also a joint proposal or statement. As always, junior researchers will be a priority.