National Conference on Research Ethics

The National Office for Research Ethics Committees and the Health Research Board will jointly host a national conference on research ethics on 30 November at the Gibson Hotel in Dublin.

National Conference on Research Ethics, 30 November 2023, Gibson Hotel, Dublin

The event will take an in-depth look at how and why ethical considerations are embedded in the practices of health research. These discussions come at an important juncture in the evolution of the research ethics landscape both in Ireland and internationally – as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic into a research environment full of new ethical challenges in areas as diverse as artificial intelligence, genetics and genomics, and how to best safeguard the rights of research participants. 

Due to the strong interest in the event, we are currently at full capacity for the conference and registration has closed. Recordings of most presentations will be made available after the event.

The programme is outlined below, and further details on speakers can be found on the HRB website. Check back here or follow the National Office on Twitter or LinkedIn for the latest updates.

This will be a full-day in-person event. 

08.00 Registration and coffee


09.00 Opening and welcome words

Dr Emily Vereker, Head of the National Office for Research Ethics Committees


09.15 Session 1: Research ethics – where we’ve come from, where we’re going 

Our first session will set the scene with an overview of what research ethics is and how it has developed over time.

Session chair: Prof. Dirk Lanzerath, EUREC (European Network of Research Ethics Committees)

09.15 Keynote: A short history of research ethics

Prof. Deirdre Madden, University College Cork

09.45 Overview of the Irish research ethics landscape

Prof. Andrew Green, University College Dublin

10.05 The European landscape – a regulator’s perspective

Peter Arlett, European Medicines Agency

10.25 Research ethics governance in a changing global landscape

Dr Laura Merson, International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium

10.45 Panel discussion

11.15 Coffee break


11.35 Session 2: Research ethics in action – inclusive research

In session 2 and 3, we will explore key debates and emerging issues in research ethics, and delve into the substance of how ethics is practised in real-world health and social care research.

Session 2 will focus on the ethics of inclusive research, beginning with a keynote on current debates in this area. Researchers and study participants will then share their experiences navigating ethical challenges in trials involving groups such as pregnant women or children, who can face specific challenges when it comes to being included in research.

Session Chair: Dr Avril Kennan, Health Research Charities Ireland

11.35 Keynote: The ethics of inclusive research 

Dr David Shaw, Institute for Biomedical Ethics, University of Basel

12.05 Case study 1: The inclusion of pregnant women in research

Prof. Fidelma Dunne, University of Galway

12.20 Case study 2: Paediatric clinical trials

Noreen Doyle, PPI representative

12.35 Case study 3: The inclusion of vulnerable or marginalised groups in research

Clíona Ní Cheallaigh, Trinity College Dublin

12.50 Panel discussion

13.15 Lunch


Session 3: Research ethics in action – emerging technologies

Session 3 will begin with a keynote on the ethical challenges related to research in new technologies: from artificial intelligence, to connected healthcare, to big data.

We will then hear from researchers and patients/participants on their experience in real-world studies where emerging tech played a central role. Speakers will discuss what the future holds for unlocking the potential of new innovations, while respecting the dignity and well-being of research participants.

Session Chair: Prof. Barry O’Sullivan, University College Cork

14.15 Keynote: Ethical challenges in emerging healthcare technologies

Prof. David Archard, Chair of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics

14.45 Case study 1: Artificial intelligence

Prof. Derek O’Keeffe, University of Galway

15.00 Case study 2: Biobanking 

Dr Michaela Mayrhofer, BBMRI-ERIC

15.15 Case study 3: Genomics

Prof. Sally-Ann Lynch, University College Dublin

15.30 Panel discussion

Case study presenters and keynote speaker will be joined by PPI representative Dr Kate Gajewska, Clinical Manager for Advocacy and Research at Diabetes Ireland

16.00 Closing words

Dr Mairead O’Driscoll, Chief Executive, Health Research Board


16.15 Event close


If you have any questions related to registration or the details of the conference, please contact the organising team at

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