Awards & Prizes

“Hans Joachim Schwager Award for Clinical Ethics” An award for innovative pioneer projects in Clinical Ethics Goals and awarding conditions

Background and Goals

Clinical Ethics has developed into a very dynamic field. Pioneer work, innovative projects, implementation of clinical ethics support and their evaluation interact and create synergies. At the same time, their start and development is often a response to ethical challenges in patient care, and the implementation of clinical ethics may require stamina and courage from various sides. Difficult political or social circumstances of health care systems may contribute to these challenges.

The Hans Joachim Schwager Award is dedicated to encourage individuals and groups to engage in clinical ethics and communicate their experiences, achievements and difficulties in clinical ethics to a larger audience. Its major goal is to support practitioners who have successfully implemented ethics consultation in healthcare facilities.

The award carries the name of Professor Schwager who was a pioneer in clinical ethics. He initiated ethics education for staff members and consultation rounds in the early nineties, ahead of many other hospitals and institutions in Germany. The cultural and religious diversification of society made it necessary for him to reflect on ethics. He primarily focused on how clinical decisions were made, and enforced the role of the ethicist as one who cares for values and ideas of good life together with common deliberation about it. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the v. Bodelschwinghsche Stiftungen Bethel, Bielefeld, Germany – the sponsor of the Hans Joachim Schwager award.


Since its origins in 2000 and the onset of conferences in 2003, the International Conference Clinical Ethics and Consultation (ICCEC) has developed into a large community bridging the gap between academia and the practice of patient care. Moreover, the ICCEC forum is inclusive as it integrates interdisciplinary fields, health care professions and also countries from the whole world.

The award is intended to highlight a successful and exemplary clinical ethics project that might stimulate or advance the practical work of ethicists. Its main purpose is to recognize and disseminate information about success and innovation in the field of clinical ethics consultation and support. It is not intended to reward the individuals involved.


Applications for the award is now closed.


Applicants should give permission for publication of the project on the ICCEC website. Publication of a full version in an academic journal is encouraged. Prior publication of the project’s results is no obstacle to application.

Extent of support

Selection for the Hans Joachim Schwager Award with the value of 5,000 Euro will be made by the Award Committee and announced during the ICCEC. In the case of two meritorious applications, both can be named. In such an event, the award will be shared.

The awardee will also be invited to present his or her project at the ICCEC. The registration fee will be waived by the ICCEC-Organizer and the travel expenses will be supported by the donor, the v. Bodelschwinghsche Stiftungen Bethel. The review of applicants and selection will be made confidentially by the Award Committee. The decisions of the Award Committee are final.

The Jury

Prof. Dr. Stella Reiter-Theil, chair, University Hospital Basel, UPK, Univ. Basel, Switzerland
Dr. Klaus Kobert, co-chair / Bethel, Bielefeld, Germany
Prof. George J. Agich, PhD, Austin, Texas, U.S.
Prof. Keymanthri Moodley, MD, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa Dipl.-Psych.
Margarete Pfäfflin / Bethel, Bielefeld, Germany
Prof. Bert Molewijk, PhD / Univ. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Prof. Daniel Tsai, MD, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

Corresponding address and E-Mail

Prof. Dr. Stella Reiter-Theil, Dipl. Psych. Prof. for Medical and Health Ethics, Director, Dept. Clinical Ethics

Dr. med. Klaus Kobert, Clinical Ethicist, Evangelisches Klinikum Bethel



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