Bergen Center for Ethics and Priority Settings – BCEPS

The Trond Mohn Foundation (TMS) has allocated NOK 35 million to establish the Bergen Centre for Ethics and Priority Setting – BCEPS, at the University of Bergen (UiB). The foundation has joined forces with the Gates Foundation, NORAD and UiB to channel NOK 122 million of funding into the centre.   The centre is headed by Ole Frithjof Norheim, a professor at UiB and Harvard University.

The Trond Mohn Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Norwegian Government, and the University of Bergen announced the establishment of Bergen Centre for Ethics and Priority Setting – BCEPS in 2019. The new centre at the Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care, University of Bergen, builds on an investment by the Norwegian Government (through NORAD) to develop new methods for evaluating health interventions and establishing priorities in global health. It also extends and expands the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded project “Disease Control Priorities – Ethiopia (2017-2020)”. The initiative marks the first collaboration between the two foundations by translating the long-term investment in “Disease Control Priorities” into on-the-ground health effects for the people of Ethiopia, Malawi, and Zanzibar. The Trond Mohn Foundation will support the centre with approx. 4 mUSD, while the Norwegian Government will provide  3.8 mUSD of support, and the University of Bergen will co-fund with 3.4 mUSD. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has previously supported the initiative (2017-2020) with a total of 3 mUSD, bringing the total funding to over 14 mUSD.

Professor Ole Frithjof Norheim. Photo: Kim E. Andreassen, UiB

Ethiopia, Zanzibar and Malawi

BCEPS will extend its work on Disease Control Priorities in Ethiopia (funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), with support from the newly established Addis Centre for Ethics and Priority Setting in Ethiopia, to Zanzibar and Malawi. BCEPS will provide capacity strengthening and help define and implement a highest priority package for non-communicable diseases and injuries in Zanzibar, and an essential surgery package in Malawi. “In all activities, the implementation will be monitored on three expected outcomes: better health, reduced inequity, and improved financial risk protection”, says the new Director, Professor Ole Frithjof Norheim.

Although these are among the world’s poorest countries, they invest in health and have seen substantial health improvements in the last decade. The Centre will help translate best evidence on what works to better health policies that not only save lives but also reduce poverty. Key partners include the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the University of Washington, and the World Health Organisation.

Unique Group – Important Decision Support

– The Bergen group is unique because it combines advanced research in ethics and economics with local capacity building for better impact on the ground, says Damian Walker, Deputy Director of Data and Analytics at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

– Decision support to the government agencies of developing countries can help countries accelerate their achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, says Austen Davis, Senior Advisor, NORAD.

– An international partnership between funders for supporting research on priority setting is most welcome, both in Norway and globally, says John-Arne Røttingen, Chief Executive of the Research Council of Norway.

Bringing Together Resources and Excellent Research
– In strengthening this important work by establishing BCEPS with a home base at the University of Bergen, we are in alignment  with the strategic priorities of the University of Bergen and the Norwegian Government. If we can bring together resources and excellent research to improve health for people in need, we are doing something right, says Sveinung Hole, CEO of the Trond Mohn Foundation.


Ingress photo: Kjell Arne Johansson



BCEPS in brief

Program period: 2019-2024

Host institution: University of Bergen
Center leader: Professor Ole Frithjof Norheim
TMS-funding: 35,5 MNOK

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