Ethical Review Goes Global: Learning the Arts of a Good Ethical Review

Activity: Talk or presentation typesLecture and oral contribution


Ethical review has been integrated into what counts as ‘good science’. But what constitutes a ‘good’ ethical review? And what kind of model of decision-making is it? Since the early 2000s, capacity building in ethical review has been a priority in Europe and the USA, driven by an increase in collaborative and multi-sited clinical trials producing data in a range of settings. This presentation explores the growth in research ethics committees in the Asia-Pacific region, drawing on multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork with a WHO-TDR funded non-governmental organisation, the Forum of Ethics Review Committees of Asia and the Pacific. The NGO, based in Bangkok, works to build capacity in ethical review, networking and training committees in ethics principles and practices. I first discuss the markers of competent review in countries with a range of different ideas about ethics and varying regulatory environments. I ask who should set the standards by which committees are assessed, and show debates over who should be responsible for assessing them. Having shown some of the factors driving the establishment of committees, I illustrate the growing motivation committees have to become ‘recognised’ or ‘accredited’ for their review practices. I conclude with a series of contrasting hopes for the future of ethical review meetings and standards.
Period25 Apr 2017
Held atEuropean Molecular Biology Laboratory, Germany
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • ethics
  • global
  • research
  • collaboratin