Research Ethics

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Research Ethics for ACTRI Education, Training and Career Development, offers five services: Education, Consultation, Public Engagement, Policy Development, and Research.





The Research Ethics Program regularly offers a wide variety of courses, workshops, and seminars in general research ethics, plus more specialized topics including international research ethics, stem cell research ethics, and survival skills in academia. These courses, as well as train-the-trainer programs for faculty, are open to all ACTRI researchers. The focus of this training is to promote good practices of research, including research that is rigorous and reproducible. 

Reproducibility Workshop

With support from the ACTRI, the Research Ethics Service developed a two-hour workshop module on reproducibility that can be easily adopted to promote reflection and discussion about fostering reproducible research. Information about this workshop can be found at: Research Ethics Program.


Any individual or review group associated with the ACTRI may request consultation with Research Ethics Program faculty. Research ethics issues include, but are not limited to, the conduct of research, interactions among researchers, and responsibilities to research subjects or society. The purpose of consultation is to clarify ethical challenges, possible courses of action, and strategies for mitigating future challenges. Consultations are usually advisory only.

Potential topics are wide-ranging, including societal responsibilities, protections of research subjects, the appropriate conduct of research, relationships to other researchers (e.g., mentoring, co-authorship), and any other questions involving disputes, possible misunderstandings, or misconduct in the practice of research.

Public Engagement

The highest ethical standards in research depend on effective engagement with the public, including education and outreach. Ethics faculty are experienced in staging public forums for diverse purposes, including promoting understanding of science and ethics, fostering informed recruitment of research subjects, and optimizing the ethical and scientific design of clinical research studies. Public forums can be valuable adjuncts to research by addressing challenging issues such as working with vulnerable populations, subject recruitment and informed consent. Ethics faculty also have a role in communicating with the public through interviews with journalists and publishing op-ed pieces. Opportunities for public engagement are facilitated by the overlapping roles of the UC San Diego Research Ethics Program, the Center for Ethics in Science and Technology, and the San Diego Research Ethics Consortium.

Policy Development

Assistance is provided to research groups, departments, the ACTRI, and the University in the development of research ethics policies, guidelines, or procedures. The assistance offered includes, but is not limited to, facilitation, writing, or providing models or suggestions.


ACTRI research is strengthened by research activities to better understand and address ethical challenges in education, consultation, public engagement, and policy development. Ongoing research in research ethics includes a focus on the standards of responsible conduct of research, and the goals and effectiveness of research ethics education. Ethics faculty work with ACTRI research faculty on grant writing and conducting research on ethical issues that are either central to or a part of clinical and translational research projects. In addition, ethics faculty can assist in the planning and writing of any required sections of grant proposals, particularly career development and fellowship awards, that require plans for research ethics education or addressing ethical challenges.

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