Strategic plan

Adopted by the SIDCER Steering Committee
Chicago, 18 June 2002
Version date: 4 August 2003


Introduction to the strategic plan

The increasing globalization of health research has led to new opportunities for fighting disease and improving healthcare around the world, particularly in resource poor countries. Global awareness has been raised on the importance of human subject protections and ethics related to health research. Every research project should be required to undergo proper scientific and ethical review, particularly within the country where the research is to be undertaken. However, in many countries in the world today where important research needs to be conducted, insufficient procedures, knowledge, and understanding exists regarding proper ethical review and oversight. An improved structure for approaching and debating health research ethics is required. A renewed focus has recently been placed on the importance of independent and competent ethical review being established in all countries where research is carried out.

The need to foster independent and competent ethical review as an integral part of the research process has been well recognized in recent years. However, there has been no entity to ensure that ethical review and protection of human research subjects is provided throughout the world. SIDCER was founded as a project within WHO/TDR in 2001to address the fundamental ethical gaps and challenges encountered in global health research. The SIDCER network of regional fora creates unique opportunities for professional development and learning while fostering innovative approaches to cross-cultural, cross-national, and cross-regional understanding and mutual support. SIDCER has created a unique partnership model which brings together under one roof the following equals:

  • the individuals who have created the most up-to-date international expertise in human research protections in the West;
  • the most concerned and capable individuals of the developing world;
  • several key scientists from WHO/TDR, with the trust, leadership, and resources to make the partnership work for all parties.

Assuring subjects, researchers and their institutions, as well as the public that human subjects protection is adequately developed, implemented and funded is a foremost concern of the Project. SIDCER will address the critical concern for national and international assurances based on the quality improvement of ethics committees and research sites. The Project is committed to assisting with the implementation of regulatory standards and to support regulatory authorities and governments in the promulgation and enforcement of regulations.

This Plan is based on two years of research and discussion by the Project Development Team under the leadership of WHO/TDR, involving the leading research and ethics organizations, as well as governmental and intergovernmental organizations. The plan presents a strategic approach based on a careful and disciplined analysis of the complex cultural, social, economic, and political realities of defining global health research today. It establishes an initiative modeled on the ongoing development of partnerships and continuing innovation that permits a stabilizing approach to the dynamics of global developments in science and ethics as well as the ever-shifting organizational, economic, and political exigencies of today's societies.

The planning process has involved a careful analytic approach to the needs of the initiative from a variety of perspectives, including those of various cultures and research communities, the varieties of kinds and approaches to health research, the challenges and controversies in contemporary research ethics, and the needs and interests of researchers and their organizations.

Contact us

Dr Juntra Karbwang
Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR)
E-mail: karbwangj@who.int

SIDCER Secretariat
WHO/SDE/ETH
20, ave Appia
CH-1211 Geneva 27
Switzerland
Tel: +41 22 791-3885
Fax: +41 22 791-1399
E-mail: ethics@who.int

SIDCER is looking to recruit