chapter  20
12 Pages

Nanotechnologies and the Ethical Conduct of Research Involving Human Subjects

The promotion of research that is conducted according to the highest ethical standards is the purpose of Canada’s Tri-Council Policy Statement on the Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS). As a condition of federal funding, researchers who are granted federal funding or who work within institutions that receive federal funding must comply with the ethical principles espoused in the articles of the TCPS. The TCPS is not law, nor is it a set of rigid rules. Rather, it is an ethical framework that is intended to provide guidance to researchers and the research ethics boards charged with ethical review of human subject research. From the outset, it was recognized that ‘considerations around the ethical conduct of human subjects are complex and continually evolving’ and that ethical principles must be re-evaluated and adapted to the context in which they are applied. As the scope of nanotechnology has inevitably grown to include the use of human subjects in research, this chapter is intended to initiate discussion about the potential impact that nanotechnology may have on human subject research and to determine whether or how this impact might best be reflected in the TCPS. This may have implications for ethical frameworks for nanotechnologies elsewhere in the world.