Ethical approval of research projects

Research projects are increasingly subject to requirements for ethical approval by the relevant university department. 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 department has approved the ethical aspects of your research.

What type of projects can be assessed for approval?

  • 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. If there is no such protocol, you can use the template included with the information form.

Please apply early to ensure that you have obtained approval before starting your research project.

Information form, protocol and guidelines

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

Protocol template – to be completed if your project lacks a protocol.

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)


The Research Ethics Committee

The Committee meets 6 times a year or as required.

Processing time: Applications must be handed in 3 weeks before the date of a meeting in order to be assessed for approval.

Meeting dates in 2020: 31 Januar, 23 March, 3 June, 27 August, 28 October, 10 December.