How to Use the IDDRC Ethics Consultation Service

The IDDRC@WUSTL provides an ethics consultation service for its investigators. Ethics consultations can support the translation and impact of your research and can make grant applications more competitive. Ethics consultations are led by Dr. Tristan McIntosh in the Bioethics Research Center.

When might I need an ethics consultation?

Ethics consultations can help you identify and address ethical issues that emerge in your research and can help you think through the ethical implications of your research. Ethics consultations can be beneficial in a variety of contexts, including:

  1. Writing an ethics-focused aim or sub-aim of a research grant
  2. Creating an Ethics Core for a research grant, including preparing supporting details in a grant application
  3. Receiving ad-hoc advice about an ethical issue for an existing grant or project

What are some ethical issues I might face where an ethics consultation would be beneficial?

Ethics consultations can be helpful to talk through ethical issues at various stages of research including, but not limited to:

  • Returning results of neurocognitive, psychiatric, behavioral, genetic, or other type of testing
  • Conducting research with vulnerable populations
  • Creating an accessible consent form that is easy for participants to understand
  • Designing research studies with ethical principles in mind
  • Responding to comments from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Human Research Protections Office (HRPO)
  • Communicating research findings to avoid misunderstanding by the public

How much does an ethics consultation cost?

IDDRC@WUSTL investigators or staff may request a FREE initial two-hour ethics consultation. Additional consultation needs will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

How do I schedule an ethics consultation?

You can schedule an ethics consultation by emailing Dr. McIntosh at with a brief description of your ethics consultation needs, including relevant information about the project(s), population(s) you work with, and any time or deadline constraints.

One Stop Shop for Research Ethics Resources

Below are links to resources, including policies and best practices, to help you remain compliant with regulations and navigate different ethical issues in research. Reading through these resources can provide a refresher about federal and Washington University (WU) research policies and provide guidance on specific ethical issues you may be facing in your research.

Several infographics related to these issues are available via Box (login with WUSTL key).

Animal Subjects Research & Compliance
Conflicts of Interest

WU Policies on Conflicts of Interest:

Data Management and Sharing
Human Subjects Research & Compliance
Research Involving Human Genetic Data
Responding to Suspected Research Wrongdoing

Guide for Responding to Research Wrongdoing:  

Research Rigor and Reproducibility