SWDTP Funded Research Ethics Conference Update

I would like to take the opportunity to welcome you to the Research Ethics Conference (REC) blog.

As the Chair of the REC I thought I would take the opportunity of writing a blog to keep you all updated on the progress of REC2021.

First of, I would like to extend my thanks to the SWDTP team, especially Molly for helping me with my application for £5000 to put this conference together and also Sonja, Richard, Joanna and Helen for approving this and/or supporting me. If anyone has any collaborative funding ideas, I highly recommend speaking to Molly who will guide you through the process. More information about Student-Led Collaborative Funding can be found here.

Before I update you I would like to share with you the following key dates (Please check www.researchethicsconference.co.uk for submission and registration details and links):

  • Conference date – Friday 26th March 2021
  • Conference back-up date – Friday 25th June 2021
  • Call for papers opens 24th August 2020 
  • Call for papers closes 1st December 2020
  • Delegate Registration opens 7th January 2021

Ethics has never been as important as it is now. The world we live in is changing at a dramatic pace and we must maintain rigorous and critical ethical practices of the research journey, across all disciplines throughout STEM and HASS. But what exactly is ethics and what does it mean to conduct ethical research? 

While academic and other organisations have ethics committees and processes in place, there is often little space or time in institutions to discuss what ethics means in practice, how our understanding of ethics varies across disciplines, and how practices change and develop over time.  Research ethics can sometimes run the danger of being misinterpreted, underplayed or merely viewed as a ‘tick box’ exercise.  Academics can  also find themselves ‘playing catch-up’ due to the rapid progress of research and new methodologies and discoveries that we have to regulate for the first time.

We invite academics as well as local stakeholders who have an interest in research ethics to share knowledge and best practice to help raise understanding of the importance of research and practical ethics. This conference will provide an opportunity for presenters from across all disciplines to share their findings collected through ethical practices, as well as any ethical dilemmas that arise from conducting primary data collection or the interpretation of statistics and other secondary data‘ (Research Ethics Conference, 2020).

The conference committee currently consists 23 committee members, made up of academic and professional staff, doctoral students, external organisational partners and a variety of members from universities within within the South West of England and Cardiff University. I am very grateful to be working with such a large committee, who all have an interest in research ethics. You can see who is member of the conference committee by clicking here. If you would like to join the committee you are most welcome. Please email REC2021@exeter.ac.uk to find out more.

Over the last 5 weeks we have held 2 committee meetings to discuss our plans for REC2021 and have made extraordinary progress. The committee has so far discussed:

  • Call for papers – Call will be released on 24th August 2020, closes on 1st December 2020.
  • Delegate registration – Delegate registration opens 7th January 2021 via Eventbrite.
  • Keynote speakers – The committee has put forward suggestions of potential keynote speakers. We aim to have two keynote speakers from contrasting disciplines.
  • Workshops – The committee has shared workshop ideas for workshops before, during and after the conference, including workshops aimed at external organisations.
  • Cross-discipline Inclusivity – Ways to make sure the conference is accessible across all disciplines.
  • External organisations – Ways to make sure the conference is accessible to external organisations for presentations and as a delegate.
  • Presenter support and preparation – The ways that we as a conference team can support paper and posters presenters, from writing a abstract to presenting.
  • Research Posters – Relaxing poster specifications to allow innovation, for example the use of QR codes, videos, sound 3D posters etc.
  • Social Media and REC Website – making sure we have an online presence and accessible, readily available information.
  • Covid-19 – Conversations around Covid-19 restrictions using the guidance from the University of Exeter and UK Gov.

Our call for papers team (Rebekah, Elis, Alice, Ginny, Fida and Lois) which is lead by Maria have already nearly completed the abstracts submission information ready for our 1st call for papers to be open on the 24th August 2020 (closes 1st December 2020). The CFP team have worked exceptionally hard to make sure the conference is accessible across all disinclines and external ogranaisations. To contribute towards accessibility and inclusivity across all disciplines, the conference committee decided not to have a theme and to keep the conference as open as possible. We hope that this will help contribute towards opening up cross-discipline conversations.

The conference team is also working towards creating and organising workshops. If you have any suggestions or know anyone that would be interested in hosting a workshop, please email REC2021@exeter.ac.uk addressed to Tracey.

As a conference team we are carefully monitoring government and university advice on Covid-19 restrictions. We will be keeping up-to-date on these restrictions and we will posting updates as and when we get them.

I will aim to update this blog after every committee meeting to give you all an update of how things are getting on.

Best Wishes


Research Ethics Conference 2021 Key Dates

  • Conference date – Friday 26th March 2021
  • Conference back-up date – Friday 25th June 2021
  • Call for papers opens 24th August 2020
  • Call for papers closes 1st December 2020
  • Delegate Registration opens 7th January 2021