University Research Ethics Committees: Their role, remit and conduct

Page edited on: 6th August 2010

Many funders, including the research councils, are increasingly emphasising research governance, and ethical review is one aspect of this.

This report was written by Anthea Tinker in September 2004 when ethical issues in research are becoming of major importance as society becomes more aware of the rights of individuals. Many funders, including the research councils, are increasingly emphasising research governance, and ethical review is one aspect of this. However, little is known about what Universities do in the way of ethical scrutiny. Not only are Universities where a large proportion of research takes place, but also guidance on research governance is aimed at them. The focus of this research is on human subjects outside the remit of National Health Service (NHS) Local Research Ethics Committees (LRECs). The key question is: To what extent do Universities undertake ethical scrutiny of research and if so how? Although the focus is on Research Ethics Committees the wider perspective is also considered.

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