Health research raises many questions about ethics and respect for life. At Inserm, three bodies assist researchers and society with these considerations: the Inserm Ethics Committee (IEC), the Ethics Evaluation Committee (EEC/IRB), and the Ethics and Animal Models Office (EAO).
Inserm Ethics Committee
The Inserm Ethics Committee (IEC) facilitates consideration of the ethical questions raised by research. It may be consulted by all Inserm staff, by the Directorate General, or it may decide to debate an issue unilaterally.
The IEC addresses issues such as human embryo research, genome modification, links between gender and health research, research in resource-limited countries, and access to innovation.
It comprises Theme-Based Think Tanks that evolve in line with the emerging issues.
- Inserm Ethics Committee missions and composition
- Inserm Ethics Committee memos, opinions, and communications
- Work of the Theme-Based Think Tanks
Ethics Evaluation Committee
The Ethics Evaluation Committee (EEC/IRB) issues opinions on the ethics of research projects that directly or indirectly involve human subjects, whether in the biomedical (health research) domain or in the human and social sciences.
It supports researchers so that ethical considerations form an integral part of the scientific approach. It ensures that projects comply with French law and international ethical principles.
Ethics and Animal Models Office
The Ethics and Animal Models Office (EAO) promotes and supports the dissemination of good practices in animal experimentation. It helps with the design and implementation of projects in which animals are used for scientific purposes. It promotes staff training, animal welfare considerations, and the principles of the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement).
The EAO also participates in providing information on the conditions of use of animal models in scientific research, for example through the following articles:
- Use of animals for research purposes
- Regulations on animal testing (in French)
- What are the principles of the 3Rs? (in French)
- Animals in research (in French)
What about professional ethics?
The questions of scientific integrity and good professional conduct in research, which are different but just as important as those relating to respect for life, are dealt with by the Professional Ethics Board and the Office for Research Integrity.