Research Ethics and Sustainable Development

Course Code: GFOK025
Number of Credits: 3 HEC

Number of Participants: 40

As from 1 January 2018 the course is discontinued.

The aims of this course are:
  • to understand the nature and range of ethical problems in research
  • to understand what is normally meant by sustainable development and potential implications for research, in particular the own research project
  • to be familiar with a framework for making decisions when faced with ethical dilemmas
  • to appreciate the complex relation between science and society
Intended Learning Outcome
By the end of the course, you will be better able to:
  • Explain the meaning and relevance of ethics and sustainable development.
  • ldentify aspects of ethics and sustainable development in all stages of research.
  • Describe potential ethical and sustainability consequences of the own research project.
  • Apply a framework for analyzing and dealing with ethical dilemmas and issues in sustainable development.
Entrance Requirements
No prior knowledge is required.
This course is eligible within the "Generic and Transferable Skills" course curriculum for PhD students and young researchers at Chalmers University of Technology
One course worth 3 credits in ethics and sustainable development is mandatory within the GTS program. You can choose either Research Ethics & Sustainable Development (GFOK025) or Sustainable development: values, technology in society, and the researcher (GFOK105) as the mandatory GTS course in ethics. More about this, read here

There is today an increasing concern for research ethics and sustainable development in universities throughout the world. In this course, research ethics and sustainable development are discussed against the background of the relation between science and society. The course is grounded in case studies with a high relevance for those who work at a technical university, as well as in examples brought up by the course participants. The cases focus on issues such as sustainability trade-offs, scientific integrity, whistle-blowing, conflicts of interest, data management, authorship and peer review, communicating research, diversity, emerging technologies and science policy. The course introduces a framework for analyzing ethical problems to give training in developing a well-reasoned response to ethical problems. The course also gives further theoretical background to put ethical issues and sustainable development into a broader context.
Running Schedule

Day 1: 09.00–16.00
Day 2: 09.00–16.00
Day 3: Work in peer review groups during the day. Each group decides on their own where and when to meet
Day 4: 09.00–12.00, Group work. Each group decides on their own where and when to meet
Day 5: Mini-conference: one group at 9.00 – 12.00, another one at 13.00 – 16.00

Other resources used: learning platform PingPong

If you need a place to meet for group work, you are welcome to visit Learning Common´s in Kuggen, LIndholmen. Here you can book group rooms and use comfortable working spaces for meetings.

Course Leader and Examiner
Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic (examiner), Magdalena Svanström


A selection of articles will be provided during the course.

A successful completion of this course will be judged on the following:

  • Attendance and preparation for the face-to-face sessions.
  • An essay describing an ethical problem in research.
  • Two interviews and a reflective text (developed in stages) on potential ethical and sustainability implications of the own research project.
  • Participation in a peer review seminar in which you give feedback on four other students' reflective texts and receive feedback on your own text.
  • A group presentation on a specific area and issue in research ethics

Examination in the enrolled courses can be acquired within one year from the start. After the expiration date no missing assignments can be admitted and a participant should re-apply to another course occasion.


Stand-By seat means that the course is fully booked but you may be offered a seat if one becomes available.

Cancellation of participation in GTS courses should be notified as soon as possible and latest one week before start of course by sending an email to  In case of cancellation less than one week before the start your Deputy Head of Department will be informed to support your future planning.

Published: Wed 14 Sep 2016. Modified: Tue 17 Oct 2017