The adjustment of research ethics processes to the level of risk anticipated in any particular project. This may include less intensive ethics review or information and consent requirements for projects identified as ‘low-risk’ or more intensive review of ‘high-risk’ projects. It is also relevant to discussions about Privacy and Covert Research, where ethics review processes may be called upon to balance the costs of moving away from conventional assumptions about respect for individuals against the wider collective benefits of better informing public debate and policy on contested or stigmatized matters.