About Us

Ethics has never been as important as it is now. The world we live in is changing at a dramatic pace and we must maintain rigorous and high ethical practices of the research journey across all disciplines. But what exactly is ethics and what does it mean to conduct ethical research? While academic and other organisations have ethics committees and processes in place, there is often little space or time in institutions to discuss what ethics means in practice, how our understanding of ethics varies across disciplines and how practices change and develop over time. These committees can also find themselves 'playing catch-up' due to the rapid progress of research and new methodology and discoveries that we have to regulate for the first time. 


This conference will allow academics as well as local stakeholders who have an interest in research ethics to share knowledge, best practice and help to raise understanding of the importance of research and practical ethics, which can sometimes run the danger of being misinterpreted, underplayed or merely viewed as a ‘tick box’ exercise. This conference will provide a space and opportunity for presenters to share their findings collected through ethical practices, as well as any ethical dilemmas that arise from developing ethical standards around primary data collection or in the interpretation of statistics and other secondary data.

Blended Conference (Online and In-Person)

Our plan is to run a blended conference in June 2021, combining face-to-face and online presentations with delegates attending in person and remotely. This will give presenters and delegates flexibility about how they want to attend.


A blended conference will be achieved through videoconferencing software, which the University of Exeter plans to have installed in every teaching room by January 2020. We will use lapel and roving microphones to ensure sound quality for those attending online and have a chat box projected on a second screen/monitor in all rooms to allow remote delegates to engage using video, audio or chat. There will be a committee member in every room who has been trained in the use of the technology to support Chairs and presenters. 

We are also making a contingency plan for an online conference in case the UK restrictions at the time will not enable us to hold a face-to-face event. An online event will take place on Zoom, with the REC website as the hosting platform. 

REC2021 Conference Theme

Because we want to encourage innovation, exploration, and breaking down boundaries, the Research Ethics Conference organising committee deliberately opted not to select a conference theme. 


However, we do want to give contributors and attendees an idea of what they will learn by engaging with the event. Obviously, exact learning outcomes will differ according to each participant’s unique session schedule, but the following list provides a summary of the topics that we are encouraging our presenters to cover:


  • Making decisions about projects – e.g.,

    • What happens when the project is long-term and needs to adapt to changing conditions over time?

    • How do you ethically make quick decisions in the moment?

  • How ethics are determined – e.g.,

    • Where and how do we learn ethics?

    • Why, and in what ways, do ethics change over time?

    • Can (and should) we try to influence ethics in our disciplines?

  • Putting ethical theory into practice – e.g.,

    • When working collaboratively, how do you negotiate ethics?

    • What do researchers need to do to gain fluency in the ethical concerns and procedures of other disciplines?

    • What does reflective practice look like and how does it support ethics?

  • Application of particular techniques and procedures – e.g.,

    • How do you do [insert method here]?

    • What does a good ethics application look like?


Potential contributors should not feel constrained by this list – you are more than welcome to suggest a poster or session that covers a different topic – but hopefully this short list of suggestions provides a sense of what you can expect to get out of the event when you attend!

Covid-19 & REC2021

The Research Ethics Conference are aiming for a blended conference (Online and in person) and are putting the safety and wellbeing of both its organiser and its attendees at the heart of all the planning for the conference, especially with regards to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. We do not wish to put anyone in danger and therefore will be following the guidance and rules set out by the conference building providers the University of Exeter. The University has a wealth of information and FAQs available on their dedicated Coronavirus webpages. We will continue to work with and liaise with the University on making sure that the conference can take place in a safe space for all.

© Research Ethics Conference 2020

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