The University of Montpellier sets up a Research Ethics Committee

A multi-disciplinary, independent and impartial forum for reflection, the University of Montpellier's Research Ethics Committee, officially inaugurated on February 08, 2022, will enable lecturers and researchers to submit, for ethical advice, their research projects and protocols involving the human person, in particular issues relating to personal data, privacy...

This is a new stage in the constitution of the University of Montpellier's governing bodies since its transformation into an experimental public establishment. By setting up this committee, Philippe Augé, President of the University of Montpellier, Jacques Mercier, Vice-President in charge of research, and Marie-Christine Sordino, Vice-President in charge of ethics and deontology, intend to demonstrate the University of Montpellier's commitment to honest, ethical and responsible research. " This requirement is a sine qua non for the scientific excellence of our university to shine on the world stage," explains the UM President.

The creation of this Research Ethics Committee reinforces the measures put in place by the University of Montpellier to raise awareness of the importance of ethical and deontological principles in the face of questions raised by scientific progress and its repercussions on contemporary society, whatever the field of research. The Research Ethics Committee can, for example, be called upon by project sponsors to :

  • ethical advice on the development of new protocols;
  • ethical advice in support of funding applications;
  • ethical advice to support responses to internal calls for projects, as well as regional, national and international calls for projects;
  • ethical advice at the request of scientific journals.

The Committee will not be dealing with interventional (or biomedical) research, which is governed by the so-called Jardé law[i ] and its implementing decree[ii]. They are subject to the jurisdiction of personal protection committees. In addition, the creation of this Research Ethics Committee will make it possible to cover all the scientific fields of the University of Montpellier and the Montpellier National Chemistry School, which is its component institution. Among the measures already deployed are the drafting of a charter of good practice in scientific integrity and the application of the Nagoya protocol on access to genetic resources.

At the inaugural meeting of the Research Ethics Committee, Thierry Lavabre-Bertrand, PU-PH at the Montpellier-Nîmes Faculty of Medicine and Nîmes University Hospital, and Marie-Elisabeth André, Emeritus Professor of Private Law and Criminal Sciences and Honorary Dean of the Faculty of Law and Political Science, were elected Chairman and Vice-Chairwoman respectively. The Committee is made up of the following personalities:

  • Thierry Lavabre-Bertrand, PU-PH, Nîmes Faculty of Medicine and University Hospital (Chairman) ;
  • Marie-Elisabeth André, Professor Emeritus at the University of Montpellier, Honorary Dean of the Montpellier Faculty of Law and Political Science (Vice-Chair);
  • Edmond Baranès, Professor at the University of Montpellier, MRE, Director of the Scientific and Economic Department ;
  • Anne Sophie Cases, Professor at the University of Montpellier, MRM ;
  • Philippe Poignet, Professor at the University of Montpellier, Director of LIRMM;
  • Michael Smietana, Professor at the University of Montpellier, IBMM ;
  • Anne Laure Bonnefont, research engineer, INSERM, vice-president of the Occitanie-Méditerranée animal experimentation ethics committee;
  • Maître Rémi Bertrand, member of the Montpellier Bar;
  • Olivier Jonquet, PU-PH Emeritus, former Chairman of the Montpellier University Hospital Ethics Committee.

All practical information is published on the UM intranet site. The secretariat for this body is provided by the Department of Research and Doctoral Studies (DRED).

[i] Law of March 5, 2012 on research involving the human person.
[ii ] Implementing decree n°2016-1537 of November 16, 2016 (articles R1121-1 and R.1121 of the Public Health Code).