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20-year retrospective: Research ethics in the social sciences

photo of Rebecca Tapscott

Thursday 11 April 2024, 5.00PM to 6:00 pm

Speaker(s): Dr Rebecca Tapscott

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In 2004, a team of academics based at York's Science and Technology Studies Unit (SATSU) held an ESRC grant to develop guidance on ethical review in the social sciences. Twenty years on, this roundtable convenes investigators from that project with scholars of research regulation to reflect on where we are today.

We will discuss the evolution of opportunities and challenges related to research ethics and its regulation, situating these insights in relation to the broader evolution of the research landscape in the UK and the world. Register now to secure your spot.

The Roundtable will be followed by a drinks reception.

About the speakers

Nik Brown is a Professor and Head of the Department of Sociology at the University of York. He has served as member and acting chair of the University of York’s faculty of social science research ethics committee. He also contributed to the UK ESRC’s 2004 review of research ethics Developing a Framework for Social Science Research Ethics alongside colleagues including Mary Boulton, Graham Lewis, Andrew Webster. As part of the review, Nik led on the review's focus on Social science research ethics in developing countries and contexts. He undertakes ethically challenging externally funded social science research on immunity, vaccination, embryo experimentation, stem cell biology, tissue engineering, human and animal transplantation (xenotransplantation), blood donation, blood banking, and healthcare architectures, robotics/automation and AI in medicine.

Jenn Chubb is a lecturer in sociology at York. Her research, which sits broadly in the field of STS (science and technology studies), focuses on epistemic responsibility, epistemic cultures and the impact and perception of emerging technologies, in particular AI. Jenn has held research roles focused on science policy and diplomacy, publishing on the relationship between research (and researcher) ethics and the societal impact of research, as well as being well established in research policy and responsible research and innovation across a range of technologies and sectors.

Jo Duffy has worked at ESRC since 2006, where she is currently based in the Governance and Policy Team leading on Ethics and Research Integrity, Complaints, and Peer Review and Assessment Policy. Before this she worked in ESRC’s Research Directorate, leading on ESRC’s relationship with the (former) Department for International Development and later as Secretary to one of ESRC’s standing Grants Assessment Panels. Jo has a doctorate in South African History from the University of Oxford and prior to joining ESRC she worked at the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum in Bristol and at the Universities of Bristol, the West of England and Sheffield in a variety of roles.

Stephen Holland is a Professor in the Departments of Philosophy and Health Sciences, working on issues at the interface between the two disciplines, including Bioethics and Public Health Ethics.  He has a surprising amount of experience of running research ethics committees, including the Health Sciences’ Research Governance Committee; York’s University Ethics Committee (now the AECC), and Public Health England’s (now UKHSA's) Research Ethics and Governance Committee.  Research ethics has been a research theme since Stephen contributed to ‘A Review of Ethics and Social Science Research for the Strategic Forum for the Social Sciences’ in 2003, culminating in his 2019 book, Ethics and Governance of Public Health Information (R&L Int).

Rebecca Tapscott (Moderator) is a Lecturer in Politics at the University of York. She runs two major research projects, one on authoritarianism and political violence in low capacity states, and another on the politics of research ethics in the social sciences (funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation’s Ambizione program). She is also a member of the UK Young Academy. Rebecca convenes the Ethics Governance Network, and serves as an Associate Editor at Research Ethics, reviews editor for Civil Wars, and an editorial board member for International Studies Review. She also serves on her faculty’s ethics committee at York.

Location: Room ENV/005, Environment Building, Campus West, University of York

Admission: Free, please book your place