iRECS

Improving Research Ethics Expertise and Competencies to Ensure Reliability and Trust in Science

The research ethics process is facing increasing challenges posed by new technologies and social developments. The “Improving Research Ethics Expertise and Competencies to Ensure Reliability and Trust in Science” (iRECS) project addresses such challenges to improve the quality of ethics review processes through upskilling research ethics experts, thus ensuring the reliability of ethics reviews for research involving innovative technologies. The project is based on the foundational assumption that ethics and quality are directly linked in research, and a prerequisite for achieving public trust and innovation in Europe and beyond.

Gathering ten European and two non-European universities, three European networks of research institutions and research ethics experts, one governmental research organisation and one research and technology SME, iRECS will develop its activities over three years. During this period, the project will address the leading challenges posed by innovative technologies for the ethics review process in Europe and globally, develop and disseminate proposals for the adaptation of the ethics review process and create education, training and awareness in research ethics and ethics review. These project activities will contribute to meeting current and projected future needs and reaching European and international ethics experts and researchers, with a long-term vision to implement and embed sustainable education, training and awareness on a European and global level.

EUA will contribute to iRECS by supporting the development of recommendations for addressing ethical challenges, contribute to the implementation of training activities for research ethics experts and disseminate the pilot results among its members. In addition, the Association will actively participate in the development of an iRECS community that guarantees the sustainability and continuation of the project’s achievements. For more information, please visit the project website.

For questions about iRECS and EUA’s involvement in the project, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Funded by the European Union logoiRECS has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe project call HORIZON-WIDERA-2021-ERA-01-91, grant agreement 101058587.

  • Background

    A key objective of national and EU research policy is to ensure compliance with the highest standards of research ethics. Given the impact of research on society, in terms of potential to generate innovative solutions to problems but also the associated risk of harm, rigorous ethical research conduct is essential to ensure public trust in the scientific endeavour. However, the research ethics process is facing increasing challenges at a global level: innovative technologies as a hurdle for ethics reviewers who may lack relevant technical skills, fears of ethics dumping due to an increased internationalisation of research and a lack of standardisation across Europe and the world.

  • Objectives

    Improving the quality of ethics review processes through upskilling research ethics experts, thus ensuring the reliability of ethics reviews for research involving innovative technologies, is a key overarching objective of iRECS. The ethics review process should not be a burden on research and innovation but a support to the science-society nexus. Consequently, the iRECS project will:

    1. Establish a rich and nuanced understanding of leading challenges raised by innovative technologies facing the ethics review process in Europe and globally.
    2. Develop and disseminate proposals for the adaptation of the ethics review process leading to greater European convergence.
    3. Create education, training, and awareness in research ethics and ethics review, meeting current and projected future needs, reaching European and international ethics experts and researchers.
    4. Implement and embed sustainable education, training, and awareness at European and global level.
  • Key facts about iRECS

    • Starting date: 1 October 2022
    • Duration: 36 months
    • 17 partners from 11 countries

Resources

  • iRECS survey on identification of technologies for research ethics training

    Partners news

    18 November 2022

    The EU-funded iRECS project will provide training material for research ethics committee members and...

    Read more
  • New iRECS project to tackle challenges in research ethics and integrity

    News

    08 November 2022

    The European University Association (EUA) has joined the “Improving Research Ethics Expertise and ...

    Read more
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