A network of empirical ethics teams embedded in research programmes across multiple sites: opportunities and challenges in contributing to COVID-19 research and responses

Ngwenya, Nothando, Ilo Van Nuil, Jennifer, Nyirenda, Deborah ORCID: 0000-0002-5867-4687, Chambers, Mary ORCID: 0000-0003-0535-3895, Cheah, Phaik Yeong ORCID: 0000-0001-6327-3266, Seeley, Janet ORCID: 0000-0002-0583-5272, Chi, Primus ORCID: 0000-0002-2727-2693, Mafuleka, Lindiwe, Nkosi, Busisiwe, Kamuya, Dorcas ORCID: 0000-0001-7107-1736
et al (show 9 more authors) (2022) A network of empirical ethics teams embedded in research programmes across multiple sites: opportunities and challenges in contributing to COVID-19 research and responses. Wellcome Open Research, 7. p. 48.

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Covid-19 continues to teach the global community important lessons about preparedness for research and effective action to respond to emerging health threats.  We share the COVID-19 experiences of a pre-existing cross-site ethics network-the Global Health Bioethics Network-which brings together researchers and practitioners from Africa, Europe, and South east Asia. We describe the network and its members and activities, and the work-related opportunities and challenges we faced over a one-year period during the pandemic. We highlight the value of having strong and long-term empirical ethics networks embedded across diverse research institutions to be able to: 1) identify and share relevant ethics challenges and research questions and ways of ’doing research’; 2) work with key stakeholders to identify appropriate ways to contribute to the emerging health issue response – e.g. through ethics oversight, community engagement, and advisory roles at different levels; and 3) learn from each other and from diverse contexts to advocate for positive change at multiple levels. It is our view that being both embedded and long term offers particular opportunities in terms of deep institutional and contextual knowledge and relationships with and access to a wide range of stakeholders in place. Being networked offers opportunities to draw upon a wide range of expertise and perspectives operating at multiple levels, and to bring together internal and external perspectives (i.e. different positionalities). Long term funding means that the people and resources are in place and ready to respond in a timely way. However, many tensions and challenges remain, including difficulties in negotiating power and politics regarding roles that researchers and research institutions play in an emergency, and the position of empirical ethics activities in programmes of research more specifically. We discuss some of these tensions and challenges, and consider the implications for our own and similar networks in future.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Coronaviruses, Infectious Diseases, Emerging Infectious Diseases, Generic health relevance, 3 Good Health and Well Being
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences > Institute of Infection, Veterinary and Ecological Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 19 May 2022 07:35
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2024 12:21
DOI: 10.12688/wellcomeopenres.17548.1
Related URLs:
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3155093