Guidelines and Codes for Research Ethics
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has prepared a Universal Ethical Code for researchers. Cardiff University supports this code, and the essence of this code is captured in Cardiff University's Ethical Guidelines and Research Governance Framework.
In drawing up its ethics guidelines, the University has taken into account guidelines and provisions originating from UK and international agencies, funding bodies and professional societies including the ESRC Framework for Research Ethics (2010) for social science research. The University's guidelines complement these codes of practice.
It is important that University researchers take account of all legislation that may impact upon their research. If research falls under The Human Tissue Act, this may determine the ethical review route for that research. It may be a requirement that the research project receives ethical review via the NHS National Research Ethic Service (NRES). For such cases, the University's ethical review system should not be used.
Researchers should be aware of the guidance provided by the Steering Committee for the Stem Cell Bank and the Use of Stem Cell Lines, for which the Secretariat is run by the Medical Research Council. The oversight mechanisms governing research involving human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines are set out in the Code of Practice for the Use of Stem Cell Lines, published by the Steering Committee. Further information regarding the committee may be found here. It is imperative that all UK researchers ensure that their work on hESC lines is consistent with the requirements of the Code of Practice, both to promote best practice and to ensure that the public remains supportive of research in this area, without the need to contemplate further statutory regulation.
Cardiff University is committed to supporting the best science in terms of its conduct and impact. The University works very closely with the Wellcome Trust in the UK to deliver this goal.
As part of this commitment the Wellcome Trust work very closely with the NC3Rs, the Government-funded body which leads the delivery of new ways to replace, reduce and refine the use of animals. The Wellcome Trust have signed up to the NC3Rs guidelines - ARRIVE - which focus on improving the design and reporting of animal studies. Cardiff University fully support and endorse these guidelines which can be viewed here.
It is important to recognise that in formalising the University's research ethics and governance structures, the intent is not to police researchers, nor to create further bureaucracy that will simply impede the conduct of research. Instead, by developing transparent policies and implementing educational and support structures, the goal is to encourage the highest standards of academic integrity and enable rigorous ethical research, which meets the requirements of national and international funders and regulatory bodies.