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AGU Holds Webinar on Ethics of Scientific Research

The Arabian Gulf University (AGU) recently organised a webinar on the ethics and skills of scientific research in the medical field.

The online activity witnessed the participation of more 50 ​members of the University's academic staff and students from the College of Medicine and Medical Science (CMMS), and the College of Graduate Studies (CGS).

During the webinar, Professor at Princess Al Jawhara Al Ibrahim Centre for Molecular Medicine, Genetics and Inherited Disorders (ACMID) in AGU Dr Khaled Gerish reviewed with the participants the international laws and regulations that define the steps and standards for ethics in scientific research, stressing the importance of the researcher's awareness in the medical sector of the ethics of scientific research and keeping abreast of developments in the field of clinical research.

Dr Gerish explained the steps followed to form the Research Committee in AGU's CMMS in accordance with the standards of the World Health Organisation (WHO), shedding light on the efforts exerted by the Committee to support researchers and assist them with the needed consultancy according to approved standards.

Moreover, Dr Gerish also shared several examples with the attendees on research models that don't require ethical approval or to be submitted to procedures and regulations, such as those based on the use of advice databases, while he also clarified the consequences and disadvantages of research that doesn't adhere to the ethics of scientific research.

Explaining further, Dr Gerish said: "The researcher must bear in mind, before embarking on the conduct of scientific research, full knowledge of the ethics of scientific research, and that the idea or topic of the research be beneficial to society and not harmful. The researcher must also obtain consent from the research sample and there must be fairness in choosing the sample and the volunteers in the research. Finally, the individuals in the sample must be left with absolute freedom to decide to continue participating in the research or withdraw without pressure or consequences."

The Professor also noted in his speech to the Helsinki Declaration, which defines the 37 ethical principles for medical research involving human subjects, affirming that the Declaration is considered the basic document on the ethics of medical research on human beings and defines a set of universal ethical principles related to research experiments on humans, adding that this Declaration is a global declaration agreed upon and gathered by representatives of more than 10 million doctors from different countries of the world.

"The Helsinki Declaration is an ethical obligation for physicians. The Declaration provides for the highest level of human protection from those rules and principles agreed upon in the global medical community. Researchers must abide by local legislation in addition to the principles of the Helsinki Declaration," Dr Gerish clarified.

At the conclusion of the webinar, Dr Gerish presented several research examples around the world in which researchers didn't adhere to the ethics of scientific research, leading to holding them professionally or legally accountable and their trial before the court.

The attending professors and students interacted with Dr Gerish, who also answered their inquiries and questions on the ethics of scientific research.