The Nuffield Council on Bioethics warmly welcomes new guidelines by UKRI and UNICEF that aim to help grant reviewers consider ethical issues when reviewing proposals for research in fragile and conflict-affected contexts.

Funders of research have responsibilities to promote ethical research conduct throughout the lifetime of any research study. Our 2020 report Research in global health emergencies: ethical issues, made detailed recommendations to funders on how to achieve this, from finding innovative ways to involve communities in shaping research projects from the very beginning, to promoting equitable collaborations between researchers in different countries, to sharing research findings in timely, accessible ways with relevant stakeholders.

The new guidelines, funded by UKRI and developed in collaboration with UNICEF, draw on UKRI-funded research and our own project findings to help embed these ethical considerations into the grant review process. Parallel guidance has been developed to support both the funders and commissioners of research, and grant applicants, to reflect critically and systematically on every step of the research process.