A Study of Research Ethics Reviews

To consider how research ethics reviews should be in the R&D process of emerging technologies


photo: meeting personAdvancement of emerging technologies, from R&D to social implementation, is very rapid and their impact on people and societies is uncertain, equivocal, and overwhelmingly immense. Thus, the deepening of relationship and interactions between science and technology (S&T) and society is increasingly more important. With emerging technologies in particular, it is important to engage in ELSI/RRI in an anticipatory manner at early stages of R&D, rather than merely attempting to improve social acceptance, in terms of risk management and innovation production.

Current activities

We surveyed those engaged in research activities in academic institutions and corporates, to grasp the trends in how research ethics reviews were conducted in the R&D process of emerging technologies. In FY2020, we surveyed research ethics reviews regarding gene editing/synthesis, meat culture technology, and digital fabrication as case studies. We attempted to describe how such reviews were conducted in Japan and to elucidate important arguments and issues needing to be addressed in future. Accordingly, we compiled a report which describes current situation of research ethics reviews, especially with regard to ethical issues characteristic to corresponding technology and/or discipline.

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