Research & teaching

Research & teaching

Originally founded as an academy, the Josephinum continues to be a site of teaching and research. It houses the organizational unit Ethics, Collections and History of Medicine as well as the UNESCO Chair on Bioethics.

The website of the organizational unit Ethics, Collections and History of Medicine is currently under construction and will be available soon.

Holder of the UNESCO Chair on Bioethics

By establishing the Chair on Bioethics, the Medical University of Vienna and UNESCO have together founded the first academic institution of its kind at an Austrian university. In line with the goals of UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and under the leadership of Christiane Druml, director of the medical collections of the Medical University in the Josephinum and since 2007 chairperson of the Bioethics Commission in the Austrian Federal Chancellery, the chair has been extended for another four years to 2024, having been established in 2016. This has been done with the goal of continuing the close cooperation in the field of bioethics with other universities and non-university institutions in Austria and Europe.

Bioethics concerns itself with the ethical questions posed by the start of life and those that emerge at the end of life. Between the two is a wide spectrum. As a global organization, UNESCO promotes the internationalization of bioethical debate and supports this with its own programs.

Science and research have led to immense developments in medicine and life sciences worldwide over recent decades, posing many new questions for society. Bioethics is about discussing these questions and finding answers.

“Science and research are not an end in themselves; humans and their wellbeing stand in the center,” explains Druml. “Research with high ethical standards can alleviate the suffering of patients by means of rapid use of new therapies, while also being an indicator for modernity and, in times of crisis, protecting jobs and prosperity.”

At the Josephinum, therefore, the cultural inheritance of the Medical University of Vienna is brought together under one roof with Austrian and international medical history and the cutting-edge ethical questions of modern research. Teaching and research institutions in Africa and Asia are also partners of this new bioethics chair.

The UNESCO chairs

The UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Program was initiated in 1992 in order to embed the objectives of UNESCO within universities. It promotes research, training and the development of higher education through the formation of university networks and inter-university, cross-border cooperation. Today there are more than 600 UNESCO chairs worldwide, seven of which are in Austria.

More information


Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Herwig Czech
Professorship for History of Medicine / Medical Contemporary History
+43 1 40160 26012

Dr. Monika Ankele
University Assistant (postdoc)
+43 1 40160 26027

Paul Kuglitsch
Student Assistant
+43 1 40160 26020

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Thomas Schnalke
Berlin Museum of Medical History at the Charité / Adjunct Professor
+43 1 40160 26052

Research & teaching | Josephinum