About Us

Ethical Research

The University of Alberta serves its communities by the dissemination of knowledge through teaching and the discovery of knowledge through research. As part of its commitment to the creation and dissemination of knowledge, the University of Alberta fosters an environment of open inquiry and academic freedom in which individuals can pursue scholarly activities. To this end, the University will ensure:

  • the highest standards of practice and ethical conduct.
  • that human research participants are treated safely and with respect and that activities involving animals are conducted with full respect for animal welfare.

Universities and university faculty are accountable - to their funders, peers, governors, alumni, students, donors and communities - for the teaching and research they perform. Good scholarship is conducted ethically. The ethical framework for research includes:

  • personal conduct (sometimes known as scientific and scholarly integrity),
  • ethics reviews and certification for human research and animal use, and
  • compliance with professional and other standards and codes of behaviour as well as provincial, federal and other legal requirements.

The starting point for integrity in research is that our work is presented to, and scrutinized by, our peers through teaching, publication, grant applications, lectures, patent applications and host of other activities. Researchers are committed to advancing their fields and so produce work that is rigorous, accurate, verifiable and reproducible. The peer review processes associated with publication, funding, promotion and tenure, graduate student supervision and teaching reinforce scientific and personal/professional integrity, in particular around issues such as plagiarism, misrepresentation, and falsification of data. Our financial accountability is demonstrated through disclosure, appropriate and compliant use of research funds and timely and accurate reporting about their use.

Research involving biohazards, chemicals, radiation and/or requiring permits and licences because of habitat, wildlife, environmental and other implications must also be reviewed to ensure that both researchers and the research environment are safeguarded and that unanticipated consequences of research are kept to a minimum.

Ethics review of human participant research and teaching, testing and research using animals is geared toward protection of the research subjects by minimizing the harms or risks to which they are exposed. Human research ethics review centres on three fundamental principles: respect for human dignity, balancing harms and benefits and justice. The centrepiece for human research ethics board review is that the participants give free and informed consent. Animal use in research, teaching and testing is a privilege, not a right. Consequently it too must be scientifically meritorious and have ethical merit.

As one of Canada's largest research-intensive universities, the University of Alberta is committed to excellence in research based on the highest national and international standards, and to actively promoting the important role of research in teaching. Ethics review at the University of Alberta ensures that we meet or exceed the standards set by the Canadian Council on Animal Care and the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans and ensures our research is compliant with relevant provincial, federal and US legislation.