Statutory Bodies and Committees

Chair of Ethics Committee

1)  Background

The current Chair of Ethics Committee, Professor Marjorie Weiss, will stand down at the end of this academic year. Professor Weiss has chaired the Committee over the last four years. A new Chair is sought for a three-year term (renewable). The Chair of Ethics Committee has an important role to play in ensuring that ethical issues are identified, addressed and reviewed and that the core elements of the Concordat to support Research Integrity are met. The Ethics Committee is responsible for advising Senate on the development, implementation and review of institutional procedures and guidelines relating to ethical issues arising from teaching, research and other related institutional activities.
 
2) Responsibilities

The key responsibilities of the Chair of Ethics Committee are:

  • To chair the three meetings of the Ethics Committee held each year in October, February and May. As well as dealing with regular business items, the Chair of Ethics Committee will ensure that meetings are relevant and engaging, by including slots for discussing current or potential ethical issues. Details of the Ethics Committee can be found at: http://www.bath.ac.uk/statutory-bodies-committees/bodies-and-committees-senate/ethics/ The Ethics Committee has authority to establish a Panel to review ethical issues in research where these do not fall within the scope or remit of existing committees and the Chair is a member of any Panel convened for this purpose.
  • To ensure that there are suitable guidelines, procedures, codes and other material that will support colleagues across the University to maintain the highest standards of scientific and professional integrity by giving due consideration to the ethical, social and environmental issues arising from activities. In a context of evolving expectations around research integrity, there will need to be regard for ensuring that processes are operating effectively across the whole research community and that these remain appropriate. Going forward, this will include the transition to an on-line EIRA 1 form to record ethical review of research activity and will on occasion involve additional meetings.
  • To provide annual training opportunities for Departmental Research Ethics Officers and present, or arrange for another member of the Committee to present, an ethics update at Departmental meetings, when this is requested.
  • To foster a culture that everyone has a responsibility for ethics. Research integrity applies to anyone conducting research under the auspices of the University and to all research projects. Responsibility rests with individuals to ensure that ethics issues are properly managed.
  •  To recommend to Senate, via the minutes of Ethics Committee, any actions to improve the framework and policies for research governance and the institutional ethics and integrity strategy.

3) Person profile

The Chair of Ethics Committee will be:

  • A senior member of academic staff, with an interest in and experience of managing ethics issues and who is able to chair meetings effectively.
  • A good communicator who can enlist the support of the research community in embedding ethics awareness and compliance and continuous improvement in our processes.
  •  Pragmatic and fair minded in their approach to addressing ethics issues, showing awareness of risk and complexity.
  • Supportive internally and externally of the University’s leadership in its commitment to upholding a rigorous process of ethical review and relevant follow-up actions.
  • Proactive in ensuring that all the core elements of the Concordat to support Research Integrity are applied to research projects, regardless of whether they are externally funded or not, and to consultancy and KTP proposals.

4) Further information

The Chair of Ethics Committee works closely with the University Secretary and the Secretary to Ethics Committee (Clare Henderson). If you would like to discuss further the role of the Chair of Ethics Committee, please do not hesitate to get in touch with myself or Professor Marjorie Weiss (M.Weiss@bath.ac.uk and tel: (38) 6787). Expressions of interest should reach me by Monday 9th May (M.G.W.Humphriss@bath.ac.uk and tel: (38) 6080).


Mark Humphriss
University Secretary