1. Who Can Access the Benchside Ethics Consultation Service?

BECS is available to any member of the Stanford University community. Requests may come from:

  • Research investigators (the PI or anyone on the research team)
  • Research study participants
  • Research coordinators
  • Stanford faculty, staff, scholars, students and medical professionals
  • Institutional Review Boards
  • Regulatory committees and other institutional bodies

2. Who Staffs the Benchside Ethics Consultation Service?

BECS staff are Stanford University faculty and members of the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics. They are experts in research ethics and regulation, and they represent a wide range of disciplines including biomedical research, genetics, law and philosophy.

3. Is the Benchside Ethics Consultation Service Confidential?

Yes; the identities of those requesting consultations and all research data, ideas and ethical issues are confidential. With permission of the investigators, de-identified descriptions of cases may be requested for educational purposes.

4. What are the Scope and Limitations of the Benchside Ethics Consultation Service?

Requests that fall under the direct regulation and/or recommendation of another institutional body (such as the FDA, IRB, University Conflict of Interest Committee or OMBUDS offices) will be referred to the appropriate group for further consideration. For example, BECS is not meant to supersede the IRB or adjudicate cases of scientific misconduct.

For particularly complex or involved requests, the BECS team may solicit the advice and guidance of an outside group.

Not all cases can or will be dealt with collaboratively; it will depend on the scope and breadth of a particular request and what is reasonably agreed upon by the BECS team and the researchers calling the consultation.

5. Is There a Fee for Using the Benchside Ethics Consultation Service?

No; there is currently no fee for using BECS.