Research Ethics Governance
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The chapter analyzes the gradual emergence of ethics and integrity as a new object of regulatory attention at the European Union (EU) level, especially in relation to research activities funded by the EU. The chapter first examines the reasons behind the gradual development of an institutional and legal governance framework on research ethics at the EC level. It is argued that those research ethics committees created for the purposes of EU-wide ethical evaluations constitute a sui generis institutional structure that highlights both the opportunities and the limitations that this supranational rule-making platform offers. Their operation seems to constitute a delicate political exercise that is based on a vaguely defined subsidiarity test.
Furthermore, the chapter seeks to answer whether the process for the establishment of an EU-wide institutional framework for the ethical review of research proposals indicates a tendency for the establishment of centralized community ethical standards or instead reflects the need for a multilevel regulatory control of ethical standards and principles beyond the national level. The chapter further analyzes the various legal and sociopolitical features of “ethics” in the EU’s research initiatives and policies and identifies the inherent limitations of the gradual “Europeanization” of the process for the ethical scrutiny of EC-funded research proposals.
KeywordsEthics Ethics appraisal EU Framework Programme for Research Proceduralization Subsidiarity Ethical pluralism Europeanization Epistemic power
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