Research ethics

Clinical, epidemiological and diagnostics studies, secondary analyses of health data and BioSamples, behavioural studies or any other studies that involve the participation of human individuals, should yield social value and be scientifically justified and ethically sound.

Ethical leadership

Since the publication of the first version of the Declaration of Helsinki in 1964, the role of overseeing ethics in research has been attributed to research ethics committees (RECs). They initially focused on the autonomy of participants, the protection of privacy and confidentiality, and informed consent.

But these days, research ethics is a rapidly evolving field, which should listen to the voices of all researchers, individual participants and research communities. For RECs that oversee global health research, it is also critical to consider and mitigate the possible power imbalances in global health.

Recent guidelines value concepts and principles like fair research partnership, benefit sharing, community engagement, protection of data collectors in the field, fair policies and practices for sharing research data and BioSamples, and fair dissemination practices. Increasing attention is given to the ethics challenges of research conducted during outbreaks and other public health emergencies. These guidelines include, among others:

Furthermore, it is increasingly recognised that research institutions and individual researchers are responsible for integrating ethical standards and integrity in their institutional policies and personal values and behaviours.

Stay informed

Dr Raffaella Ravinetto is chair of ITM's Institutional Review Board. Follow her on Twitter or take a look at her research profile to discover the latest findings.


Research governance at ITM

The Institutional Review Board of ITM is committed to raising ethics reflection and awareness, both inside and outside the institute. They are well-informed of current developments in research ethics, and provide formal training as well as informal advice for ITM researchers and students. Their current review template is inspired by the 2016 International ethical guidelines for health-related research involving humans of CIOMS.

Our Institutional Review Board

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