The term “bioethics” emerged in the last quarter of the twentieth century to refer to ethical reflection in the life sciences and in biomedical research. In general, it is used to denote three main areas of scholarship: medical ethics in health care and medical research; ethical issues at the interface of the life sciences and biomedical technology; and in its broadest sense, biological aspects of environmental ethics including animal research ethics and vegetarianism. Modern breathtaking advances in scientific research and biomedical technology have raised serious ethical concerns on the nature, limits, and boundaries of human and non-human life and stirred global debate on the wider implications of these advances. These ethical concerns touch on important questions such as: beginning and end of human life; organ donation, transplantation and trafficking; genetics and reproductive methods; and environmental implications of modern technology and lifestyles. Since its inception, bioethics developed as an interdisciplinary field that draws on insights from the wide spectrum of natural and applied sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Global interest in bioethics stems from the fact that it investigates universal issues that concern mankind and the very essence of life on this universe. Experts emphasize the need for cross-cultural dialogue with a view to create worldwide awareness on the importance of bioethics and to facilitate shared understanding and collective action towards bioethical issues. In light of the comprehensive scope of the Islamic normative tradition, bioethical deliberations in the Muslim context require thorough investigation of the foundations of this tradition and the extent to which they can be reconstructed to address modern bioethical questions. Empirical research in the Muslim world shows that as far as bioethical issues are concerned, Islamic ethical reasoning constitutes the primary form of legitimacy for the majority of Muslim populations. Therefore, efforts that overlook this important observation would risk alienating significant segments of the Muslim population and would in turn limit the outcome of these efforts. Bearing in mind the importance of Islamic ethical reasoning for bioethical deliberations, the Islamic Medical and Scientific Ethics (IMSE) project was launched in 2009 with funding from Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF)’s National Priorities Research Program (NPRP). This three-year project (2009–2012- NPRP No. 08-783-6-017) was established in order to undertake the necessary preliminary step of identifying and exploring available literature in the Muslim world in this area. In collaboration with the Kennedy Institute of Ethics in Washington D.C. and building on its recognized expertise of more than 30 years in developing reference services and research databases in this field, the project developed both a comprehensive physical collection and dedicated database on the topic. Prior to its successful completion, the project team sought to maximize the use and potential of this project by developing the idea of creating the world's first encyclopedia of Islamic bioethics. The proposal of this project was awarded another three-year grant from QNRF's NPRP competition (2012–2015 - NPRP No. 5-1390-6-043). Following these two pioneering projects, the team sought to build on the expertise and the resources that have been developed by investigating a focused research question addressing genetic and reproductive methods. Consequently, a third proposal for a three-year grant was submitted to the 8th cycle of the NPRP competition to investigate the impact of genetic and reproductive technologies on the nuclear family within the Islamic context, which was successfully awarded (2015–2018 -NPRP No.: 8-1478-6-053).


This presentation aims to illustrate and highlight the main achievements of these three research projects. It seeks to trace the cumulative development of these efforts and the gradual emergence of a viable research program out of these three related yet distinct research projects. Most importantly, it seeks to demonstrate the difference between a research proposal at the theoretical level on the one hand and a real executed research project on the other. The journey from an abstract research proposal to an actual research project involves important lessons of practical experience that can only be gained through the process of trial and error.


The presentation will examine the methodology underlying each of these three successful projects and will provide research impact assessment in light of these six main pillars: - Understanding the context of these projects - Identifying their purposes - Defining employed methodologies and success indicators - Communicating findings and results - Managing the assessment of these results - Overall evaluation and quality assurance.

Results and Conclusion

The presentation will showcase the results of these individual research projects and will reflect on the creation of an ambitious research program as a result. It will highlight main outcomes in terms of: academic achievements (different types of publications); scholarly communication and collaboration (organization of scholarly meetings, conferences, and events); team formation and capacity building (recruitment of local and international experts); and community outreach and service (education, consultation, and advocacy).


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