PI: Ilina Singh
Co-Investigator: Julian Savulescu
UKRI/AHRC (Covid scheme) for 8 month project
UK Ethics Accelerator: Coordinating and Mobilising Ethics Research Excellence to Inform Key Challenges in a Pandemic Crisis
The COVID-19 crisis demands that policy-makers, researchers, health and social care workers, and members of the public address unprecedented ethical dilemmas on a daily basis. Resolving these is hard, and it is risky. The complexity and speed of ethical challenges are leading to harms—some inevitable, some avoidable—on a significant scale. The main aim of the Ethics Accelerator (EA) is to harness and mobilise existing UK ethics research expertise to bear on these multiple, ongoing ethical challenges. The EA will rapidly provide evidence, guidance and critical analysis to decision-makers, helping to improve decision-making over the evolving pandemic response. A second aim is to enable systematic public deliberation around key ethical challenges. A third aim is to identify strategies to embed ethics at the core of future epidemic preparedness. The EA will leverage and promote a broad network of UK and international researchers to create flexible Taskforces that deliver rapid guidance and responsive advice to leadership in government, science, medicine, and public health. It will establish virtual fora for public discussion, deliberation and information about arising ethical challenges. In coordinating and focusing existing national investments in ethics research, the EA adds significant value and scales up the potential impacts of ethics research in science, medicine, policy and society. Primary outputs will be rapid research reviews; policy guidance; commissioned research; a broad peer review body; and stakeholder engagements. Main outcomes will be decision-making that is informed by ethics expertise, and is more transparent and accountable, thereby improving public trust.