Preserving ethics in our universities

Canadian and American universities have policies to manage conflicts of interest in research.

However, the work of Bryn Williams-Jones, a researcher in the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine at Université de Montréal, shows that in Canada, the content, structure and quality of these policies vary greatly. And yet, there are many debates currently underway in our universities on the risks of conflicts of interests in research. Particular attention is paid to the influence of the private sector in medical schools and in clinical drug trials, which is likely to generate bias and threaten the conduct of university research. The researcher emphasized that university ethics policies are often difficult to understand, are not well known by researchers and university staff, and are not very concerned with conflicts of interest that have no direct financial impact.

University ethics policies are often difficult to understand.

Bryn Williams-Jones's project aims to provide more comprehensive and detailed knowledge on the state of university conflict of interest policies and will contribute to the development of more effective policies and better training tools. The researcher helped to write two institutional reviews on the development of a conflict of interest policy and the reduction of the negative consequences of research. Scientific articles based on his work have been published in journals including Science and Public Policy, BioéthiqueOnline, Journal of Bioethical Inquiry and Journal of Medical Ethics. He has also presented his findings at the Third World Conference on research Integrity and the Institut de recherche en santé publique de l'Université de Montréal (IRSPUM) seminar.