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The European University Association (EUA) has joined the “Improving Research Ethics Expertise and Competencies to Ensure Reliability and Trust in Science” (iRECS) project.

The aim of this initiative, funded by the Horizon Europe programme, is to improve the quality of ethics review processes through upskilling research ethics experts, thus ensuring the reliability of ethics reviews for research involving innovative technologies. The project officially kicked off during a meeting in Bonn on 27-28 October which brought together all partners and representatives from the European Commission.

Gathering ten European and two non-European universities, three European networks of research institutions and research ethics experts, one governmental research organisation and one research and technology SME, iRECS will develop its activities over three years. During this period, the project will address the leading challenges posed by innovative technologies for the ethics review process in Europe and globally, develop and disseminate proposals for the adaptation of the ethics review process and create education, training and awareness in research ethics and ethics review. These project activities will contribute to meeting current and projected future needs and reaching European and international ethics experts and researchers, with a long-term vision to implement and embed sustainable education, training and awareness on a European and global level.

EUA will contribute to iRECS by supporting the development of recommendations for addressing ethical challenges, contribute to the implementation of training activities for research ethics experts and disseminate the pilot results among its members. In addition, the Association will actively participate in the development of an iRECS community that guarantees the sustainability and continuation of the project’s achievements.

iRECS will further reinforce EUA’s promotion of ethics and integrity as a fundamental part of academic research, as stated in Universities without walls: A vision for 2030. Other recent developments that place research ethics and integrity at the centre of the Association’s current actions include the Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment and the EUA-CDE vision paper on the future of doctoral education.

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