glass balls

For Imperial College London, ethics means ensuring that a research project is conducted in such a way that any adverse impact is in proportion to its expected benefit.  Adverse impacts are those that may affect the health, well-being, safety, threats to privacy and in rare cases liberty of individuals and/or the reputation of the College.  

These may consist of:

  • The acknowledged potential direct risks .e.g. rare or adverse reaction to a clinical intervention  
  • The unintended consequences .e.g. local stigmatisation of an individual through involvement in research in a socially sensitive context
  • The College being vulnerable to criticism by imprudent partnership with an (overseas) partner or non-government organisation

The expected benefits must be not only be desirable but also in sufficient degree likely to actually occur.   The benefits of the research are a material consideration in deciding whether a proposal is ethical as presented, since they must be in satisfactory proportion to the potential adverse impacts.

Information on the College Ethics Code can be found on the College Research and Innovation webpages.