Children's Bioethics Centre

Childrens bioethics research

  • The research program aims to produce world-class research in children's bioethics through the establishment of a sound evidence-base for ethical decision-making and rigorous, systematic and theory based ethical analysis. 

    Specific areas of interest and activity

    Specific areas of interest and activity in paediatric ethics research include:

    • Clinical issues such as informed consent and end-of-life decision-making including withdrawal and withholding of treatment
    • Genetics such as pre-natal screening and diagnosis, predictive genetic testing in children and young people, genetic counselling and informed decision-making
    • Consent such as consent to children's participation in research, competence, opt-out consent, and children's assent
    • Public Health such as vaccination, drug and alcohol service provision
    • Behavioural disorders such as management of ADHD and other behavioural disorders and use of psychotropic therapies

    Understanding Consent in Research Involving Children

    This project was funded by the Alfred Felton Bequest.

    This project investigates consent in research involving children. Parental consent is the ethical cornerstone of research involving children, but the concept of 'consent', both of the parent and the child, is not as well understood as it could be. This can lead to a problematic lack of clarity of the ethical role of and requirements for consent in some situations. This project aims to address this problem.

    The central aims of the project are to:

    • Develop greater theoretical clarity of the concept of consent in research involving children
    • Encourage clearer thinking by researchers and HRECs about consent in research involving children
    • Produce an educational resource for researchers and HRECs.
    • Develop an information brochure for parents to assist them in deciding about their child's involvement in research.

    Fore more information: https://www.mcri.edu.au/research/projects/consent-research

    Future projects

    Potential research projects are identified and summarised, including proposed funding requirements and timelines.