About Us: Statement on Sources of Funding - July 1, 2009

Fast Facts

  • A partnership of the University of Toronto (including 9 academic departments) and 13 health sector partner organizations
  • A World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Bioethics and inaugural chair of the Global Network of WHO Collaborating Centres in Bioethics
  • Over 25 practicing ethicists in affiliated health partner organizations and 141 active members involved in bioethics scholarship and practice
  •  Mission: To improve healthcare through leadership in bioethics research, education, practice, and public engagement
  • Financial support provided from the following sources: University of Toronto and JCB partners (428%); research grants from government (56%); individuals and foundations 2%); we do not have any current industry funding.

  • Brody, B. et al; Bioethics Consultation in the Private Sector, Hastings Centre Report 32 no.3, pp. 14-20; May-June2002. www.thehastingscenter.org Sharpe V. Science, bioethics and the public interest: On the need for transparency, Hastings Center Report 32, no.3, pp. 23-26, May/June 2002. www.thehastingscenter.org Centre for Science in the Public Interest, Newsroom, CSPI Calls for Prevention and Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest in Bioethics, June 11,2002. www.integrityinscience.org Link to: Walt, G, Brugha, R. and Haines A. Working with the private sector: the need for institutional guidelines, BMJ 2002;325:432-435. www.bmj.com


The purpose of this document is to update the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics "Statement on Sources of Funding", which was first posted in 2002 as a response to the call for greater transparency about funding of research institutions by the Centre for Science in the Public Interest.

Risks to objectivity, impartiality and independence

Numerous national and international research projects, clinical trials, university chairs and programs are supported by private industry, gifts, and endowments, including those in bioethics. Many government research grants require university researchers to obtain matching private sector funds.

Some sources of funding have prompted concerns about conflicts of interest and threats to academic freedom and integrity, particularly with respect to “partnership” arrangements and funding from pharmaceutical, biotechnology and chemical industries1. Some observers believe university bioethics programs should refuse all corporate funding to legitimize its role as watchdog of the ethics of scientific and medical research. Others believe bioethics will have greater impact in improving research ethics and patient care by working with and disseminating knowledge among all stakeholders2.

The JCB believes improvements are best achieved by working with all stakeholders. However, cognizant of threats to academic freedom and professional integrity, it has instituted a policy of full financial disclosure. JCB applauds the recommendations for centres of bioethics made by the Centre for Science in the Public Interest3.




The JCB promotes a diverse, international and interdisciplinary approach to bioethics education, research, practice.. The larger share of funds (56%) come from Canadian and U.S. research funding agencies to support innovative, internationally recognized programs in priority setting, pandemic responsiveness ,global health ethics, public health ethics, research ethics and clinical care. The second largest share (42%) comes from University of Toronto and health sector partners. The private sector share is 2% which comes from individuals and foundations.

JCB operations are managed by the JCB Secretariat under the direction of the JCB Director (Dr. Ross Upshur) and overseen by an Executive Committee comprised of a representative group of academic deans from the University of Toronto and CEOs of health sector partners . An Advisory Council, consisting of all CEOs (or their designates) of health sector partners and deans (or their designates) of relevant university faculties, meets annually to provide advice to the Executive Committee and the JCB Director. The Executive Committee and the Advisory Council are chaired by Dr. Catherine Whiteside, Vice Provost, Relations with Health Care Institutions and Dean of Medicine. [LINK TO GOVERNANCE DOCUMENT HERE] A Strategic Forum, consisting of academic representatives of all 9 affiliated academic units, ethicists of health sector partners, and other university affiliates (e.g., Centre for Ethics at the University of Toronto), meets quarterly with the Management Team of the JCB Secretariat to address strategic issues related to achieving the JCB’s mission and goals. The JCB abides by the financial and academic rules and regulations of the university (See “University Policies on Funding, Conflicts of Interest, and Ethical Research” below.), which are outlined below.

Of the 141 JCB members, about 25 are full-time ethicists employed by the 13 health sector partners of the JCB Secretariat. The remaining members are committed to ethics practice in their professional work and/or scholarly activities. Some members receive research and travel grants through the JCB and other university departments; some accept consulting fees from public and private sector organizations.

University Policies on Funding, Conflicts of Interest and Ethical Research

For a general overview of U of T policies visit the following web sites:

To get an overall picture of the JCB’s annual funding, the funding is divided into four sources: the University of Toronto and annual fees of health sector partners, research grants, individuals and foundations.  Where the funds are per annum, they are included directly in these calculations. Where the funds are held for a fixed term, they are divided by the number of years to provide an annualized amount. Where the funds are endowed, or unrestricted as to term, an annualized amount was calculated by assuming 5% interest would be expended each year. A breakdown of the funding with more specific information is provided below for JCB annual funds by source for fiscal 2009. All amounts are given in Canadian dollars.

University of Toronto & JCB Partners


Research Grants  


Individuals and Foundations







    1. Core funds
    The University of Toronto and 13 health sector partners contribute to the budget of the JCB Secretariat and its core programs. This budget is used to fund: JCB management and administrative staff salaries; supplies, services, travel and equipment to support the Secretariat infrastructure; limited contributions toward academic salaries of affiliated faculty.  The JCB also provides in-kind support (e.g., workspace) for visiting scholars and fellows. The total annual budget is $783,150.

    2. Space
    The JCB currently occupies 582.26 sq metres at 88 College Street. Within the next year, the JCB will move to space (387.98 sq. metres) at 155 College Street.  Health sector partner-based ethicists have offices in their partner organization and share common space at the JCB Secretariat office. The notional rent and maintenance on this space is provided by the Faculty of Medicine and not included in these calculations.

3. Research grants as at July 1, 2009




Funding Agency/Sponsor






Ethics and Pandemic Planning: Engaging the Voices of the Public

Canadian Institutes of Health Research






Canadian Program of Research on Ethics in a Pandemic (CanPREP): Whose risks, whose duties, and what priorities?

Canadian Institutes of Health Research






Doctoral Award: Erica Sutton – Ethical implications of Ontario’s expanded newborn screening program

Canadian Institutes of Health Research






Fellowship:  Barry N. Pakes – Ethical analysis in public health practice: A multi-sectoral, mixed-methods study

Canadian Institutes of Health Research






Fellowship: Victor Cellarius – The conceptual structure of palliative care ethics in Canada

Canadian Institutes of Health Research






University of Toronto MHSc in International Bioethics

Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health (US$1,053,432 @ 1.03860)






WHO Collaborating Centres in Bioethics Research Meeting







Evaluating the effectiveness of hospital-based ethics programs: a pilot study to identify key benchmarks, indicators, and success factors







Strengthening the health system through improved priority setting

St. Michael’s Hospital






There’s no place like home: What constitutes an “adequate” home environment for younger adults with physical disabilities?

Canadian Institutes of Health Research












4. Endowments and Gifts from Individuals and Foundations
The JCB is grateful to endowments and gifts from individuals and foundations, which make it possible to bring in internationally recognized speakers on ethics in health care and research.


Andrzej and Karolina Jus

$571,441 endowment,  interest pays for Annual Jus Lecture to bring an eminent scholar to speak on ethics in genetics, neuroscience, or psychiatry


Maranatha Foundation/Alloway Lectures

$232,811 endowment, interest pays for the Alloway Lecture to bring an eminent scholar to speak on ethics in organ transplantation


William Harris Estate

$196,761 for infrastructure development at JCB



The JCB welcomes donations from individuals or organizations who share our values and are inspired to help us advance our mission. For information on giving, http://www.facmed.utoronto.ca/alumni/advancement.htm
1. Centre for Science in the Public Interest, Newsroom, CSPI Calls for Prevention and Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest in Biothics, June 11, 2002.
2. Brody, B. et al; Bioethics Consultation in the Private Sector, Hastings Center Report, May-June 2002; www.thehastingscenter.org
3. Sharpe, V. Science, bioethics and the public interest: on the need for transparency. The Hastings Center Report, May-June 2002; pp. 23-26.