Origins & Development of Framework

The Origin and Objectives (2010-2011)
From 1st January, 2010 to 31st December, 2011, National Cheng Kung University(NCKU) received funding for the project: "Governance Framework for Human Research Ethic" from the Department of Humanities of the National Science Council (renamed as the Ministry of Science and Technology). This project was spearheaded by the National Science Council based on the objectives of the 8th National Science and Technology Conference (i.e. to encourage universities and research institutes in order to establish an Institutional Review Board (IRB) (including social and behavioral science research), and to enhance personnel training and counseling to guarantee the quality of ethical reviews). This project was aimed at ensuring research activities in Taiwan and protecting the rights of research subjects (or participants), thus fulfilling the social and academic responsibilities of researchers.
 
NCKU had spent two years searching for ethical arguments in various academic disciplines that employ human participants in research; these include humanities, social/behavioral science, engineering and science. Based on the said information, the school established an appropriate ethical review framework, regulations, procedures, forms, documents and other educational activities that could help facilitate responsible and ethical research activities in Taiwan. The project has three main objectives:
 
  • Based on the pre-existing Institutional Review Board (IRB) in its department of medicine, the school extends the IRB's function, making it an institutional and regional level governance framework for human research ethics. This framework is designed to manage all research projects with human participants.
  • Under this governance framework for human research ethics, the school plans to establish two human research ethical review committees. One is responsible for biological and medical research reviews, while the other is responsible for humanities, social/behavioral sciences, engineering and scientific education.
  • To provide consultation, reviews, education and other services that uphold the rights of research participants which are relevant to the stakeholders of academic research projects that employ human participants; these services focus on researchers from various institutions in the southern regions of Taiwan, Taitung, Kinmen and Penghu.
Final Stage Establishment (2012)

In 2012, NCKU carried on with "The Governance Framework for Human Research Ethics", funded by the National Science Council in order to sustain the newly established Governance Framework for Human Research Ethics which is expected to reflect social context and local cultural characteristics, facilitate discussion and communication between stakeholders of different human research projects, and support framework practices and research initiatives. In terms of practices, the school is gradually completing the framework, gathering different arguments and training a professional team. In terms of research, regular review of the framework is conducted to maintain accuracy, and feedback on research results is provided to maintain efficiency. Through these efforts, the school aims to achieve the following targets:

  • Develop the Governance Framework for Human Research Ethics that will help address academic conditions in Taiwan and represent "Taiwanese Subjectivity".
  • Uphold the rights of research participants and promote Taiwan's international academic competitiveness through the Ministry of Science and Technology's Demonstration Project for Ethical Review of Research ("the demonstration project").
  • Promote the Southern Taiwan Universities Consortium for Human Research Ethics through cross-institutional communication and collaboration, systematic integration of regional resources, as well as promotion, intensification and support of research ethics.
Missions and Functions (2013 to present)

In order to fulfill its social responsibility, NCKU has established ¨The Governance Framework for Human Research Ethics〃 (¨the framework〃) to protect the rights and welfare of human research participants. The framework also ensures that the related personnel of NCKU and the contracted ethical review schools commits to responsible and ethical research activities when they are conducting human researches. Human research refers to individuals or groups of people as research subjects or participants. A research activity can be a systematic investigation or knowledge discovery activity of any academic discipline, that entails research methods such as observation, intervention, interaction, or non-consensual use of participantsˇ data whether identity cues are delinked or not.

1. Southern Taiwan Universities Consortium
In order to assist and facilitate research ethics-related affairs in the southern and eastern regions of Taiwan, as well as in surrounding islands, the school has collaborated with more than 50 institutions and established the "Southern Taiwan Universities Consortium"( Southern Consortium ) in 2012 to provide its members with services under the framework such as ethical review, training and consultation.
 
2. Missions
The framework is committed to the following purposes:

 

  • Protect the rights and welfare of research participants involved in the research projects of the school and of the contracted ethical review schools.
  • Ensure that the research projects of the school and of the contracted ethical review schools are conducted in accordance with Taiwan laws and regulations on human research.
  • Urge research project organizers of the school and of the contracted ethical review schools.
  • Establish a comprehensive research plan and implement ethical research procedures.
3. Functions
The framework has four functions:
  • Ethical Review To review and inspect research projects that are conducted by school and of the contracted ethical review schools; to check whether these projects protect the rights and welfare of participants as well as provide concrete procedures that offer better and safer protection to research participants.
  • Education and Training To provide research participants with protection concept training;  to facilitate responsible and ethical research practices by guiding research project leaders, research staffs, research assistants, students of the school and of the contracted ethical review schools.
  • Ethical Consultation To provide ethical consultation or search for available ethical expert/channel that can offer support in terms of protection for research participants, application of ethical review or other related research practices.
  • Research Development To organize, analyze and review human research projects that are submitted for ethical review in order to gather related ethical arguments and develop appropriate ethical regulations that address academic conditions in Taiwan.
To fulfill academic and social responsibilities when discovering new knowledge while promoting public welfare.