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The Research Ethics Training Project: Developing, Implementing and Evaluating a Training Module on Ethics in Public Health Research

Small Grant


Ethics - Health - Medical Research - Public Health


Public health research is carried out in increasingly complex and challenging environments. Such research while having the potential to benefit communities and populations also has the possibility of harming individuals who take part in this research. The responsibility for protection of research participants lies not only with the ethics review committees and the sponsors of research, but also with the investigators and all those who are part of the research team. Numerous guidance documents exist, but there is limited experience and expertise in developing countries in their interpretation and application, not only by the research team but also by the ethics review committees. Most currently available capacity building initiatives are top-down, faculty-led courses that can train only a limited number of people, and are highly dependent upon the ongoing work of the trainees. There is an urgent need to develop capacity-building approaches that take into account local contexts and realities, can target a wide audience and are cost-effective and sustainable.

The general objective of the project is to develop and evaluate training materials in the area of research ethics. A case book on research ethics will be compiled drawing on examples from various regions of the world. This will be pilot tested and evaluated through workshops conducted by the partners in different countries before being finalized. Based on the case studies, a modular internet-based training tool will be developed. At the same time, a Communities of Practice (CoP) will be established using available databases and list-serves. The internet-based training tool will be evaluated by piloting it through the established CoP, and a final version produced.

Expected results include a case book of research ethics published and disseminated widely; an interactive internet-based research ethics training tool publicly available; and a network of researchers that functions as a Community of Practice. The project is budgeted at SFr 152,500 of which funding to the extent of SFr 50,000 has been approved by the GIAN for a period of 9 months.

This is a collaborative project between the World Health Organisation, the University of Geneva Medical School. Consultants from the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, The Law School, University of Southern California, Los Angeles and the Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva will also collaborate in the Project.

The grant provided by the GIAN for this project totals SFr 50,000

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