Paul Schotsmans studied at the KU Leuven: he graduated in educational sciences (specialisation clinical child and adolescent studies) (1976) and holds a PhD in theology (specialisation in moral theology) (1982). He was ordained to the priesthood in 1978 in the Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels. In 1980 he was appointed research assistant at the Department of moral theology of the Faculty of theology. In 1984, he was appointed lecturer in medical ethics at the Faculty of Medicine of the KU Leuven. He was promoted to full professor in 1995.
In 1986 he became – together with Herman Nys – the Director of the Centre for Biomedical Ethics and Law at the Faculty of medicine at Leuven University. In 1996 he was elected Department Chair of the Department of public health. In 2005 he was elected Vice-Dean of the Faculty of medicine and a member (2005-2011) of the Biomedical Sciences Group Board. Since 2012 he is a full-time Research Fellow of the Centre for Biomedical Ethics and Law.
As a priest of the Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels, he was successively appointed fellow pastor in Willebroek (1978-1980), Board member of the John XXIII Seminary (1981-1995), spiritual director of the Heilige-Geestcollege (1995-2005) and president of the Holy Spirit college (2005-).
He worked successively as Treasurer, Secretary General and President of the European Association of Centres of Medical Ethics. From 2000 to 2005 he was a Board Member of the International Association of Bioethics. From 2001 to 2010, he was Chairman of the Ethics Committee of Eurotransplant. He is, together with Henk ten Have (Nijmegen), Renzo Pegoraro (Padova), Stella Reiter-Theil (Basel) and Diego Gracia (Madrid), the initiator of the European Master in Bioethics, which was recognised as from 2006 by the European Commission as an Erasmus Mundus Master in Bioethics.
Since 1996 he is an effective member of the Belgian Advisory Committee on bioethics. He was elected as a member of the Bureau in 2005 and is so one of the four Vice-Presidents for the third mandate period (2005-2009). In 2009, his term as Vice-President was extended for the fourth mandate period (2009-2013). In particular, he is in charge of the follow-up of the functioning of the local committees on medical ethics.
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