National Conference on Research Ethics

Jointly hosted by the HRB and the National Office for Research Ethics Committees


The Health Research Board and the National Office for Research Ethics Committees jointly hosted a National Conference on Research Ethics on 30 November 2023 at the Gibson Hotel in Dublin.

The event took an in-depth look at how and why ethical considerations are embedded in the practices of health research. These discussions come at an important juncture in the evolution of the research ethics landscape both in Ireland and internationally – as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic into a research environment full of new ethical challenges in areas as diverse as artificial intelligence, genetics and genomics, and how to best safeguard the rights of research participants. 

Programme outline:

Session 1: Research ethics – where we’ve come from, where we’re going 

Our first session set the scene with an overview of what research ethics is and how it has developed over time.

A keynote presented the history of why and how ethics has become an essential component in research today, followed by an exploration of present-day governance models: from our own system here in Ireland, to international examples of how ethics is built into research responses to global health challenges.

Session 2: Research ethics in action – inclusive research

In session 2 and 3, we explored key debates and emerging issues in research ethics, and delved into the substance of how ethics is practised in real-world health and social care research.

Session 2 focused on the ethics of inclusive research, beginning with a keynote on current debates in this area. Researchers and study participants then shared their experiences navigating ethical challenges in trials involving groups such as pregnant women or children, who can face specific challenges when it comes to being included in research.

Session 3: Research ethics in action – emerging technologies

Session 3 began with a keynote on the ethical challenges related to research in new technologies: from artificial intelligence, to connected healthcare, to big data.

We then heard from researchers and patients/participants on their experience in real-world studies where emerging tech played a central role. Speakers discussed what the future holds for unlocking the potential of new innovations, while respecting the dignity and well-being of research participants.

Click for details on speakers and links to watch back the presentations