Ethical approval of research projects - the Research Ethics Committee

Research projects are increasingly subject to requirements for ethical approval by the university. This requirement stems mainly from the EU’s framework programmes and international journals, and relates specifically to projects that collect empirical data and are not covered by the Committees Act on regional scientific ethical committees, which only applies to research projects in the field of health sciences.

Aarhus University (AU) projects are approved by the Research Ethics Committee. The Committee’s responsibility is to ensure a consistent and responsible framework for project approval and make it easier for AU researchers to obtain grants and publish.

The Committee acts as an Institutional Review Board (IRB) in cases where researchers are required to demonstrate that the university has approved the ethical aspects of your research.

What type of projects can be assessed?

  • The Committee exclusively assesses projects requiring ethical approval which fall outside of the existing research ethics committee system, and which are headed by researchers employed at AU.
  • The Committee only approves empirical projects that collect data from volunteer study participants, including observation studies and questionnaire-based studies that involve the collection of data from individuals.

How do I apply for approval?

  • You must complete and submit a form with appendices. The Committee will then assess your application with a view to granting research ethical approval.
  • You must attach a project protocol using the template (max 5 pages).
  • Please apply early to ensure that you have obtained approval before starting your research project.
  • Your data collection must begin only when the Committee has approved your application.
  • It is recommended that the final design of a study, including local requirements for the use of equipment, laboratory facilities, etc. be clarified before the application to the Committee.
  • Participant information, any questionnaires and a declaration of consent must be drawn up in a language in which the participants have in-depth knowledge, usually their native language or English.

Requirements for description, consent and anonymisation of data

Description of purpose and risks: The purpose declaration must demonstrate that the benefit of the project is balanced against the human resources involved in the project and the risks/inconveniences that they may be exposed to in connection with recruitment, study and reporting. The declaration must also demonstrate that the social group represented by the study participants will benefit from the outcome of the project.


Informed consent:
The study subjects’ participation in research projects must take place on the background of informed consent. The informed consent should include the following information:

  • The name of the primary investigator
  • The purpose of the research project
  • The research project’s funding sources
  • The process for recruiting study participants
  • The methodology/methodologies of the research project
  • Expected risks/inconveniences
  • Who will benefit from the results of the research project
  • How the project results will be communicated (including participant feedback)
  • How personal data will be protected
  • Opportunities for leaving the study
  • Opportunities to view and, if applicable, comment on transcriptions of interviews and quotes, if relevant
  • Debriefing opportunities, if relevant


Methods for the anonymisation of data
and publication of results must be outlined in the project description.

Information form, protocol and guidelines

Fill out the information form with all appendices (in PDF format). Find the form here.

If you have any questions regarding the form, please send an email to legal@au.dk.

Please fill out this protocol template. The protocol is compulsory and must be max. 5 pages.

What appendices do I need to submit?

Submit the appendices relevant to your project. Aside from the protocol, this may include:

  1. Participant information
  2. Declaration of consent
  3. Recruitment material
  4. Project manager’s CV (1 page max)

 

Participant information, any questionnaires and a declaration of consent must be drawn up in a language in which the participants have in-depth knowledge, usually their native language or English.