RCR is defined as the “practice of scientific investigation with integrity”. It involves the awareness and application of established professional norms and ethical principles in the performance of all activities related to scientific research.
The research infrastructure in the Arab countries is variable and might be more robust in one country than the other, but research ethics is still not well established in most of these countries. Public health research is becoming more important because of increasing adoption of a Western lifestyle (e.g., smoking, physical inactivity, poor diet) which is resulting in disproportionately high prevalence of chronic diseases such as diabetes, and risks of mortality and morbidity. Current research practice for adult or pediatric studies in most Arab speaking countries is rarely governed by nation-level guidelines; nor does it involve mandates for the use of formal research ethics committees.
Jordan was chosen as the regional hub for the Fogarty Research Ethics Training program as it has one of the highest smoking and obesity prevalence rates in the region. Therefore, prevention interventions and research is needed to address the chronic diseases resulting from these risk factors. Jordan also has a well-established pharmaceutical industry sector that exports a large percentage of its products to neighboring countries and globally. This industry relies on a number of Contract Research Organizations (CROs) for drug development and drug-licensing clinical trials and post-marketing pharmaco-epidemiology studies.
Research that leads to better prevention interventions at the clinical and population levels is needed to counter rising public health threats and the increasing needs of the pharmaceutical industry. Preparing the next generation of local researchers is a requirement to combat this emerging threat.