RESEARCH ETHICS TRAINING- IMPROVING THE EFFICIENCY OF RESEARCH ETHICS PROCESSES AND PROCEDURES
By: Nontobeko Moimane- 16 February 2023
From 8 – 9 February 2023, the Vaal University of Technology’s (VUT) Central Research Ethics Committee (CREC) hosted a successful Research Ethics Training Workshop. The Workshop was, presented by Professors Thiri Padayachee, the CREC Chairperson and a qualified Bioethics Practitioner, and Allan Munro, a Research Ethics Specialist.
A cohort of forty-eight (48) participants attended the training including new staff engaged in research, research supervisors, faculty-appointed Research Ethics Committee Members, FREC administrators and members of staff from Non-Academic Departments who gather data for non-degree purposes.
The primary aim of the two-day workshop was for participants to understand the importance of research ethics requirements and compliance at the various stages of the research process at VUT and beyond, enabling participants to approach research; supervision; decision making and responsibilities with these concepts in mind.
The purposes of the Training Workshop were threefold:
- To familiarise the researchers and supervisors with the importance of applying Ethical Principles to maintain Research Integrity within the research domain.
- To appraise the researchers and supervisors of the requirements for conforming to research ethics at VUT and to pass the same onto their prospective students.
- To help the researchers better understand the Research Ethics procedures and to guide them with the application process for Ethical clearance and the processes thereafter.
Professor Allan Munro, a Research Ethics Specialist giving a presentation
The training was interactive, and participants were engaged in various learning activities throughout the duration of the workshop to reinforce the research ethical principles presented. The presentations were lively and humorous (who would have thought one could find Emmanuel Kant’s thinking “funny!”) and the discussions of the principles thorough. The breakaway participants “leaned into” the scenario discussions with enthusiasm and this led to engaging and provocative joint discussions when all groups came together – as the presenters’ pointed out: Ethics is a grey area at times and demands rigorous thinking and acts of persuasion.
It was generally agreed that, despite the heat and the ever-present threat of load-shedding, the workshop was fruitful, and will go a long way to smoothing the research-to-ethics processes. The Directorate of Research is thanked for sponsoring the workshop.