Covenant News

Research Ethics: Professor Adebayo Charge Researchers to be Ethically Conscious in Research Engagement

The Vice-Chancellor of Covenant University, Professor Abiodun H. Adebayo, has reiterated the importance of research in the priorities of the University’s engagement in the world of knowledge. Professor Adebayo made this known at the opening ceremony of the 2022 Covenant Health Research Ethics Committee Training Workshop on Monday, October 17, 2022.

Professor Adebayo said that in the pursuit of cutting-edge research, there was a need to adhere to ethical norms in research. According to him, the adherence to norms promoting the aims of research must not be compromised, such as knowledge, truth, and avoidance of error. He cautioned against fabricating, falsifying, or misrepresenting research data to promote an end goal.

He said compliance with ethical standards promotes the values essential to collaborative work, such as trust, accountability, mutual respect, and fairness. According to him, when research ideas are shared, reviewed, and modified, they conform to globally accepted best practices, which can be replicated anywhere in the world.

Professor Adebayo, who is a Professor of Biochemistry, said as researchers, ethical norms have been established as helpful in ensuring that researchers can be held accountable to the public, citing instances where the federal policies on research misconduct, conflicts of interest, human subjects’ protections, and animal care and use are necessary to make sure that researchers who are funded by public money can be held accountable to the public.

He highlighted the need to embrace ethical conduct in advancing research, as it becomes a vital instrument in propagating and building public support for research endeavours and, as such, attracts more funding and grants to finance research projects if the public can trust the quality and integrity of such research activities.

However, Professor Adebayo noted that issues surrounding the ethical use of animals in scientific and medical research have been a subject of heated debate globally, and despite the debate, the number of animals used in research and testing has continued to increase.

He posited that regardless of the ethical perspective one favours, there is a strong agreement that animals matter morally, and their welfare must be considered in the design of research, not just out of a personal sense of caring, but from an ethical obligation and duty. "There is a gradual shift away from the use of animals for research, which has led to the principles of replacement, reduction, and refinement," he added.

In her welcome remark, the Chair, Covenant Health Research Ethics Committee (CHREC), Professor Grace Olasehinde, said the training is the fifth since the inception of the Committee and is designed to ensure that members are in tune with the expectations of the National Health Research Ethics Committee.

Professor Olasehinde said the thrust of the 2022 training session is focused on protecting human participants in research endeavours, while sessions will also be dedicated to addressing issues that affect animals in research activities.

She appreciated the pioneer chair of the Committee, Professor Chinedu Shalom, for laying a good foundation for others to build on in making ethical issues in research a priority in the research engagement of the University.

Professor Kola Oyedeji and Director of Research, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Professor Oliver Ezechi, along with other facilitators, trained over 40 participants in the 2-day training workshop.

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