Translational ethics: A novel framework for research ethics

Jeffrey S. Farroni, Michele A. Carter

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Scopus citations


    The pace of technological innovation, the complex clinical research enterprise and increased public expectation for health benefits has led to the adoption of a new strategy of research inquiry: translational science. This model aims to encourage a team-based, interdisciplinary approach to patient oriented research by increasing the efficiency by which discoveries are implemented to clinical practice. The goals of translational science require a shift of perspective from traditional approaches to research ethics to that of a more humanistic framework. The core of this re-interpretation is the claim that the mere application of formal rules, codes, regulatory procedures, and ethical principles undermines and even ignores the moral content of the practice of translational science. Rather, translational ethics draws on humanities approaches to integrate relationship building, interdisciplinarity and narrative interpretation within a multidisciplinary, team-based setting. In this way, ethical values and norms are generated, experienced and shared through relationships, dialogue, reflection, and support. By adopting this humanistic framework, the translational ethicist seeks to broaden the ethical competence of translational scientists, deepen understanding of the subjective experiences of research participants, and enlarge the capacity and sustainability of trust within research institutions and the communities they serve. By integrating the values common to both science and ethics and aligning the aspirations at the core of these human endeavors, researchers and ethicists strive together to improve the practice of science.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)73-84
    Number of pages12
    JournalInternational Journal of Critical Cultural Studies
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - 2013


    • Bioethics
    • Clinical research ethics
    • Humanistic
    • Interdisciplinary
    • Narrative
    • Pragmatism

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Cultural Studies
    • General Arts and Humanities


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