Ethical Forum


The growing internationalization of all scientific communities, the steady expansion of English as their lingua franca, the growing mobility of students and staff, the spectacular spread of computers and the internet, the growing reliance on various types of private funding to supplement public subsidies to research and higher education and, in our country, the gradual "de-pillarization" of society and the near-total decentralization of research and higher education to the Communities as well as European integration and the emergence of Brussels as the capital of the European Union, are so many factors that have profoundly modified the context in which the University Foundation needs to pursue what has been its mission from the start: fostering the advancement of science within Belgium.

An initiative by the University Foundation
In the pursuit of this aim, the hallmark and "added value" of the University Foundation has long been to provide a setting in which scholars from all Belgian Universities could meet, irrespective of their ideological affiliation or mother tongue. True to this spirit but mindful of the deeply altered context sketched above, the University Foundation creates a common forum of discussion on some of the unprecedented ethical challenges - in a broad sense - which academics of diverse fields now face, whether individually or collectively, whether as researchers, as teachers, as supervisors, as authors, as recruiters, as managers, as users of libraries and data banks, as more or less occasional business consultants or policy advisers, or as participants in public controversies. The purpose is to share perplexities and convictions, starting from actual concrete cases drawn from various disciplines, and discussing them in a rigorous way that explicitly combines ethical concerns and awareness of incentives and constraints in the real world of academic institutions and market economies.

The 2024 Ethical Forum

will deal with the question 


and will be organized on Thursday 5 December 2024.

Further information is published on the website of the Ethical Forum, as it becomes available.

More information on the Ethical Forum of a particular year can be accessed by clicking the appropriate item below.

ChatGPT & Co in higher education: to be cheered or feared ?
Is politics part of the universities’ job?
Fair exams in a mass university: can technology get us out of trouble?
The pandemic-driven digital university: temporary nightmare or seed for better higher education?
Academics as soldiers? Is defence-related research a scandal or a duty?
Towards Anglophone universities?
What place (if any) for academics in our post-truth era ?
Is Academia a place for women? The strenuous road from Ph. D. student to rector.
Too many students? On the purpose, legitimacy and adequacy of university entry and orientation tests.
Will the universities survive the e-learning revolution? And how?
The academic’s burden. University professors under perverse pressure?
Scientific Fraud: How and why it is done, and what can be done about it?
Who should pay for tomorrow's higher education?
The University as a business: disaster or necessity?
The University in the age of Google and Wikipedia. New potentials, new threats, new duties.
University Rankings: From curse to blessing?
Is it wrong to teach what is right and wrong?
The end of free entry? Can university admission tests and numerus clausus provisions make higher education more cost-efficient and more socially responsible?
Ethical Implications of Patenting Academic Research
Free to speak out? On the rights and responsibilities of academics in the public debate
Go English? What language for higher education in 21st century Europe?
Free access to truth? Scientific publication in the internet era