Conference: Research Ethics Committees – Help or Hindrance? UCL 12 Nov 2009

Interesting Research Ethics Conference at UCL in November, and I’m not just saying that because I am one of the speakers…

UCL is pleased to announce an academic conference on research ethics committees followed by a closed workshop to make policy recommendations work for the National Research Ethics Service.

While ethics committees are now a familiar feature of research institutions especially within the NHS, academic work on their role, remit and function is still in its infancy. The theme for the conference
is how effective ethics committees are in reducing risks to subjects of research without over-burdening researchers with bureaucracy. Ethics committees for research in social science and in journalism are often
not thought as important as they are in medicine for example because the risks associated with each are different. The burdens on medical researchers might thus be justified by the risks to their subjects.
However, ethics committee reviewing medical research proposals may lack the scientific expertise to review the science directly themselves and so make sound judgements about the risks involved. Since the science is reviewed independently, ethics committees have to judge which reviews to trust and so which projects to approve. The sessions will address this governance distinction between reviewing science and ethics.

This event is supported by the National Research Ethics Service, the UCLH/UCL Comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre, and the UCL Centre for Philosophy, Justice and Health.


Dr Sarah Edwards, UCL
Dr Hugh Davies, NRES
Professor Nora Groce, UCL
Professor Adam Hedgecoe, Cardiff
Dr David Hunter, Keele
For more information please see the conference website:

Attendance at the conference is free. However space is limited, so we
advise you to register early. To register, please email and await confirmation. Please say whether you
have any special dietary requirements, and don’t forget to include your
institutional affiliation, if any, for the name badges.

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