Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences Research Centre

Research Ethics

Research Ethics


Our reflection on research ethics is informed by our work in continuing professional development and training of practitioners.

Our researchers are frequently called on to support the ethical aspects of research projects. We work as either a formal collaborator or in an advisory/consultative capacity.

Beyond this, we are interested in scrutinising the research ethics enterprise as a whole.

We reflect on the practice of doing biomedical and bioethical research ethically. We evaluate how the framework of national research ethics and governance fits the needs of contemporary real world research.

Read about our projects and publications within this theme.


Find out what projects we've been involved in.


Adults lacking capacity in research: The experience of using consultees in the context of time critical research, 2012

Supported by the National Research Ethics Service
Principal Investigator: Simon Woods, with Andrew Padkin and Lorna Burrows

MetalHip: Using patient experiences to improve medical engineering design, 2011-2012

Funding: EPSRC, £25,000
Principal Investigator: Dr Tom Joyce, School of Mechanical and Systems Engineering, with PEALS Research Associate Pauline McCormack
Read more about this project.

Research Designs: living with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, 2009-2013

Funding: ESRC collaborative studentship with TREAT-NMD
PhD Student: Sarah Skyrme
Academic supervisors: Janice McLaughlin and Simon Woods
Read more about this project.

Developmental Gene Expression Map (DGEMap), 2005-2007

Funding: EU Commission, £94,419 to PEALS
Work Package Leader: Simon Woods
Principal Investigator: Susan Lindsay, Institute of Genetic Medicine
Read more about this project.

Funding an independent research nurse to avoid conflict of interest between clinical treatment and research, 2003

Funding: Medical Research Council, £56,602 to PEALS
Principal Investigator: Alison Murdoch, with Marilyn Strachan and Erica Haimes

A comparative study in participation and non-participation in the North Cumbria Community Genetics Project, 2001-03

Funding: Wellcome Trust, £72,334 to PEALS
Principal Investigator: Erica Haimes
Read more about this project.


Find out about some of our publications for this theme.


Our latest publications in this area include:

McCormack P, Woods S. Disputing the ethics of research: the challenge from bioethics and patient activism to the interpretation of the Declaration of Helsinki in clinical trials. Bioethics 2012

Woods S, Hagger LE, McCormack P. Therapeutic misconception: hope, trust and misconception in translational research for rare disease. 2011

Barr M, Zhang JY. Bioethics and Biosecurity Education in China: Rise of a Scientific Superpower. In: Rappert, B, ed. Education and Ethics in the Life Sciences: Strengthening the Prohibition of Biological Weapons. Canberra: Australian National University Press, 2010, pp. 115-129