Research ethics involves the application of fundamental ethical principles to scientific research. The Ethics Assessment Committee Law and Management (hereafter referred to as EACLM) aims to facilitate so that publicly funded research conducted within these two faculties is carried out in accordance with the ethical guidelines of the funder and in line with the applicable ethical principles prescribed locally (Radboud University), nationally and internationally.
The task of the EACLM is to inform and advise research applicants about the ethical acceptability of their research proposals. Moreover, the EACLM facilitates interim ethical reviews of research projects conducted within the faculties.
The main reason for the establishment of the EACLM was the start of Horizon2020 (the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation), which places greater emphasis on the ethical review of research proposals compared to the previous Seventh Framework Programme, reflecting the growing societal concern for responsible research and innovation. This parallels the growing societal awareness of the potential impact that research can have on solving or understanding societal issues. All proposals considered for Horizon2020 funding will undergo an Ethics Review carried out by an ethics committee. ‘Ethics clearance’ is required before a project may commence.
It is expected that national research programmes and funding agencies (like NWO) will follow Horizon2020’s ethics policy in due course. It is also expected that the implementation of Horizon2020 ethics review procedures will lead to the adjustment of existing procedures and to debates about the practical implications of ethics reviews. The establishment of an ethics committee is a precondition for the effective and efficient preparation of research proposals and funding grants under Horizon2020. In addition, any NWO research proposal that raises ethical issues must be carefully considered. For these reasons, the Faculty of Law and the Nijmegen School of Management have initiated an interfaculty Ethics Committee.
Although the EACLM is mainly tasked with reviewing the ethical acceptability of research proposal, applicants may also consult the EACLM prior to publication in scientific journals, if they so desire. This is because major scientific journals in many areas increasingly require ethics committee approval before research articles are published.