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Research ethics

Thursday 2 February 2012

The course Research Ethics was organized by the Ethics Institute of Utrecht University and the Julius Center of the UMC Utrecht for the first time in 2011. The course was designed to teach “the other side” of clinical studies, namely the ethical and philosophical aspect.

In eight evening sessions, we discussed the following issues amongst others:
What are ethical guidelines and what do they cover?
Should patients feel a moral duty to participate in research?
Who can give informed consent?
Might research participants be manipulated by payments?
How do research ethics committees perform a risk-benefit analysis of a clinical trial?
Are randomized trials ethical or not?
What are vulnerable groups and why do they need to be protected?
What is scientific integrity?
How can studies be conducted and reported without violating scientific integrity?
Which ethical issues need to be considered in respect to biobanking and genetic research?

The participants were a mixed group of professionals (e.g. MDs performing clinical trials, members of ethic committees) and master students of different disciplines like medicine or ethics. This heterogeneity made this course really attractive as different views were presented and discussed.
The assignment of this course was to write a paper (together with a professional) about a problem in research ethics.

If you would like to broaden your horizon concerning ethical aspects of clinical studies or research, you should not miss this course!

Anna Gram
September 2011