Photo: Partners at the fifth plenary meeting of the TRUST project.

“Ethics dumping”, or the application of double standards in research, involves the export of non-ethical research practices to resource poor settings, and is an issue receiving increasing international attention. Through the Bio-economy Chair, UCT is a partner on a European Commission Horizon2020 project called TRUST that is focused on Ethics Dumping and Equitable Research Relationships. In February 2018, Rachel Wynberg participated in a meeting in Oberwinter, Germany that drew together partners from the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Kenya, France, Belgium, India and South Africa. Partner organisations that were represented included the University of Central Lancashire (the lead organisation), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the Council on Health Research for Development, the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership, the Foundation Global Values Alliance, Partners for Health and Development in Africa, the South African San Institute, Signosis, Wits University and Action contre la Faim (Action against Hunger).

With the project now in its third and final year, the discussion focused on bringing partners together to review ongoing developments and to make plans for the final project phase. Discussions were lively and engaging, focused on the three main TRUST tools: (1) a global code of conduct for research in resource-poor settings; (2) a fair research contracting online tool; and (3) a compliance and ethics follow-up tool. Consideration was also given to a set of planned policy briefs, and a community engagement guideline. In-between the sessions, delegates took advantage of the picture-book beauty of the Rhine, enjoyed the snowy landscapes, and donned costumes for the Rhineland carnival!

Plans are now afoot for a high-level launch of the project outputs in the European Parliament in Brussels in June 2018. Watch this space for more – or visit the TRUST website for further information.

Written by Rachel Wynberg.