By Rowena Rodrigues, David Wright, 30 June 2017
The lack of a balanced and harmonised approach to ethical assessment of research and innovation (R&I) projects in many countries often leads to unwanted outcomes such as unethical research, poor quality of ethics reviews, and uncertainty for researchers, innovators and regulators. To overcome these bad effects, the SATORI project (which has partners from 16 organisations including academics, civil society, government, standardisation organisations, industry and the media from across Europe) has developed an ethics assessment framework. The project is funded by the European Commission. The framework aims to support the ethical assessment of research and innovation (R&I). It intends to help ethicists, innovators, policy-makers, researchers, and other stakeholders assess ethical impacts in R&I projects and provide much-needed guidance for establishing new policies or procedures on ethics assessment.
“Having joint standards is going to be very useful to be able to talk about quality, to talk about how to improve quality and to have joint approaches and standards that improve ethics assessment across borders,” says Philip Brey, SATORI project co-ordinator and professor at the University of Twente in the Netherlands.
Three key elements of the framework are: a set of ethical issues and principles that apply to all types of research; recommendations for best practice in ethics committees (or any organisations that review R&I activity) and an overview of ethical impact assessment (EIA).
If you would like to engage with SATORI, please register for the final conference, Brussels, 18-19 September 2017.
Check out SATORI’s blog posts: http://satoriproject.eu/blog/ (if you are interested in writing a blog post, get in touch with us).
Trilateral Research is deputy co-ordinator of the SATORI project and led a comparative analysis of ethics assessment practices in Europe, the US and China. SATORI partners conducted more than 230 interviews with representatives of organisations engaged in ethics assessment and ethics guidance. Trilateral co-ordinated the SATORI policy-watch activities and the SATORI policy newsletter. It also supported the development of a SATORI CEN Workshop Agreement (CWA) which is the first international standard document that provides guidance for ethics committees (Part 1) and outlines how to carry out an ethical impact assessment (Part 2). CEN is the European Committee for Standardization. Trilateral also carried out a study with the Netherlands Standardization Institute (NEN) and Danish Standards on conformity assessment, including certification, for ethics assessment.