The Institute of Bioethics is the only portuguese faculty dedicated exclusively to this area. It was created by the Supreme Council of the Catholic University of Portugal in July 2002 with the aim of establishing a multidisciplinary approach to address the complex challenges of today's society and rise awareness about the advances and the ethical contours of progress.

The ETHOS - Award in Bioethics thus arises, six years after the creation of the Institute, as a premium with international relevance, bringing to Portugal some of the most prestigious names in the Bioethics world scene. George Abbot, Assistant Professor of the University’s School of Arts, is the author of the piece that is delivered symbolically to the winners of this Award.

In the first edition of ETHOS, in 2009, the theme was the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, under the patronage of UNESCO National Commission. The award was presented to the physician and philosopher Henk ten Have, Professor and author of a vast work, which includes 22 books and hundreds of publications. Henk ten Have has seen recognized his special competence and wisdom in the field of Bioethics by UNESCO, which has entrusted him with the direction of their Division of Ethics, Science and Technology.

In the second edition of ETHOS, in 2011, the theme was Education and Bioethics Deliberation and enjoyed mainly the patronage of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. Diego Gracia, Professor at University Complutense of Madrid and member of the Royal Academy of Moral and Political Sciences, was awarded with ETHOS. Diego Gracia has authored vast work on issues of Bioethics, launching foundation for youth education on bioethics process of deliberation and decision within human and social values​​.