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Research ethics


The School is committed to promoting and facilitating the conduct of ethical research, as is consistent with the practice of most funding bodies, and of research institutions such as the Royal Society and British Academy. The School therefore attaches great importance to addressing ethical aspects in all research activities carried out by its members. Attention to the ethical (and legal) implications of research for researchers, research subjects, sponsors and collaborators is seen as an intrinsic part of good research practice. Policies on research ethics adhere to the principles set out within the University's Code of Research Ethics in emphasising the need for ethical awareness as part of the commitment to professionalism in research.

The need for an ethical approach to research applies to all members of the School who conduct or advance research. This includes academics, undergraduates, postgraduates, visiting scholars, research fellows, research associates and research assistants.

There are two interrelated areas in which ethical considerations arise. The first is in relation to the personal ethical awareness of the researcher in adhering to the general standards of good research practice; this involves responsibility, integrity, honesty, respect and fairness. The second is rather broader and involves the external relationships of the researcher to the general public, stakeholders in the research activity, individuals and institutions associated directly in and with the research (collaborators and subjects as well as sponsors) and the environment. These latter relationships will vary from project to project, whereas the personal ethics are general and more consistent. Ethical awareness is encouraged in all research.

As well as assessment by departmental ethics committees, more detailed reviews are carried out by the Cambridge Psychology Research Ethics Committee, the Cambridge Human Biology Research Ethics Committee and the Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body.