The Queensland Bioethics Centre (QBC) is a collaboration between the Archdiocese of Brisbane and Australian Catholic University, together with other funding partners. The QBC focusses on high-quality research, education, and consultancy in the area of bioethics, with engagement and impact locally, nationally and internationally.
Building on the research networks that the director, Dr David Kirchhoffer, has developed with leading thinkers in bioethics in Australia and overseas, this collaboration provides a platform for truly interdisciplinary research to address the bioethical issues of the day. This in turn informs education, and sound advice to key stakeholders, such as the Archdiocese of Brisbane, the bishops of Queensland, Catholic health and aged care agencies.
The QBC was first established in 1981 by Archbishop Francis Rush, and is one of the oldest such institutions in Australia. Since then, it has had three directors, Dr Regis Mary Dunne RSM AO, Dr Elizabeth Hepburn IBVM, and Dr Ray Campbell, each of whom, along with the ongoing development of a specialised bioethics library, have made their own mark on the centre and its activities.
Dr David Kirchhoffer was born and raised in South Africa. He studied biology, psychology and theology in South Africa before going to Leuven in Belgium to read for a doctorate in theological ethics. Upon completion of his doctorate, he was a post-doctoral researcher at the Centre for Biomedical Ethics and Law at KULeuven. He then took on a continuing position in theological ethics at ACU. His research focusses primarily on the relevance of human dignity in contemporary ethics, and its application to bioethical issues. More recently this has developed in the direction of the limitations of respect for autonomy in human research ethics.
In 2015, he was as senior visiting fellow at the Centre for Biomedical Ethics at the National University of Singapore, and is a senior research associate of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Johannesburg.
Over a period of more than 35 years, the Queensland Bioethics Centre developed a specialised bioethics library of more than 6000 volumes. This library has now been integrated into the ACU library collection on the Brisbane Campus. Hardcopy books can be consulted at the library.