Ethics Support for Research Projects and Proposals

How can we help?
As part of large funding bids we can help to formulate, predict and anticipate possible ethical and social aspects of research studies and/or new technologies emerging from research. This may simply mean offering help and advice during the writing of the proposal. But it can also mean adding an integrated ethical and social component to the proposed research, such as shared supervision of an AIO, participation in the research itself, or pursuit of further funding. 

If you are in need of news or media commentary about an ethical or social issue surrounding new technologies, our staff members represent a wide range of expertise about these issues.  We can discuss options such as coaching you on the issues or participating in media appearances.

What are the advantages?
1) Improved Chance of Success of Funding Bids
International funding bodies place increasing emphasis on interdisciplinarity and social impact. Demonstrating that the possible social and ethical aspects of a developing technology have been considered at an early stage or, even better, as an integrated part of the research and development plan, will positively influence the appraisal of a funding request. 

2) Improvements in Research and Development
When innovations are launched into society, moral and social objections can pose considerable and unforeseen obstacles. By then, it is often too late to make adjustments to the innovation. In some cases such social and moral barriers can result in a complete failure of implementation. By anticipating these barriers in the research and development phase, when adjustments to the technology are still possible, smoother implementation can be ensured. The possible concerns depend on the specific innovation, but can include privacy, trust, consent, risk, and effects on human welfare.

3) Improved Implementation 
Anticipating possible social and moral objections to technological innovations is a good way to prepare for the possible social discussion following the introduction of a product. Such discussions can be a crucial factor in the acceptance and implementation of an innovation, and it is advisable to take a proactive approach to them.

What we do not do
We cannot give ethical approval for research. Nor can we make official pronunciations about the ethical or legal aspects of the research itself. If you are doing research that involves human or animal research subjects, your faculty or department should be able to provide a contact person who can help you navigate the specific legal and institutional requirements for this type of research.