The research activities of the ITB Rome Section are devoted to the fields of research ethics and research integrity, bioethics, biolaw and biopolitics. The research team, consisting of 17 persons (plus 1 person in charge of administration), has a multidisciplinary composition (social sciences and humanities). The unit is led by Cinzia Caporale who is also the coordinator of the "CNR Research Ethics and Bioethics Committee" (https://www.cnr.it/it/ethics), an independent body with standard setting functions and an advisory role to the President of the CNR which includes also ethical, deontological and legal issues concerning research integrity. With reference to the Committee, the Research Unit acts as technical and scientific secretariat (head of the scientific secretariat: Elena Mancini; head of the technical secretariat: Giorgia Adamo).
The sphere of action of the Committee includes: (i) development of codes of conduct, ethical guidelines and, in general, standard setting activities (in 2015, the Committee drafted the first Italian guidelines on research integrity, a major reference document for scientists); (ii) evaluation of the ethical issues related to CNR research projects with the aim of releasing ethical clearances and providing ethical mentorship; (iii) ethical consultancy to the CNR President on alleged cases of research misconduct; (iv) educational and training activities within CNR; (v) high-level consultancy activities for the public institutions.
The Research Unit carries out scientific research characterized by an interdisciplinary approach. Currently, the most important research interests and activities include:
- Bioethics and Research Ethics. In particular, the ethical and legal implications of: clinical trials and research on human beings; vulnerable groups in biomedical studies; human genetics and precision medicine; neglected and rare diseases; biobanks and biomedical data management; medical ethics; vaccines and preventive medicine; fundamental rights and freedoms at the beginning and end of life; the application of argumentation theories in the clinical field and, more in general, in the sector of scientific research and innovation; neuroethics; research innovation and access to innovative products; equity in access to health services, inequalities in health promotion, life styles and wellbeing.
- Biolaw. In particular, the main legal developments at international and European level concerning: medical experiments on human beings and on animals; protection of privacy and fundamental rights and freedoms; international legal instruments and the spread of infectious diseases on a global level (HIV/AIDS, Ebola, Zika); protection of the biosphere.
- Biopolitics. In particular, issues, questions and dynamics related to the social and political protection of life, in a present and future perspective, with regard to the role of politics and institutions in pursuing a common interest in choices related to the following fields: protection of life and human health; protection of the environment and of the landscape; the promotion of scientific development based on scientific research whose outcomes might be considered socially desirable. Further fields of interests are sociological studies on: sustainability of the health systems, role of the stakeholders in health system and biomedical research and innovation; management and role of middle and top management in the health system; ethical approaches in the reform of the welfare system, empowerment of patients and citizens toward health promotion; migration and health.
- Research Integrity. In particular: principles and ethical values, deontological duties and professional standards upon which a responsible and correct behavior in research is founded.