Trust & Corporate Funding of Research

Bill and Melinda Gates, Rodel anyone?

Research Ethics Blog

Like all nonviolent human endeavours, the conduct of human-subjects research is grounded in trust. Research subjects trust researchers to conduct their research ethically which means, for example, minimizing risks and safeguarding the subjects’ privacy. Without some degree of trust, research would literally be impossible — or at least impossible to do ethically. Research subjects also put trust in Ethics Boards, at least if they know such Boards exist. They trust (implicitly or explicitly) that the Ethics Board is conscientiously overseeing the research. They trust, for example, that a study approved by an Ethics Board must not represent any unreasonable risks, and is likely to have some social value.

Perhaps less obvious is the trust that research subjects put in the sponsors of research. For one thing, they trust that sponsors with a vested interest in the outcomes of research won’t pressure researchers to cut corners on safety, or to continue…

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