Research Ethics Committee
Research ethics and the promotion of good scientific practice
Preliminary ethical assessments
A preliminary ethical assessment refers to the assessment of a research plan in accordance with field-specific ethical practices with a focus on assessment of the possible harm to those being researched that could result from the research or the research results. Preliminary assessments relate only to precisely defined research designs. A preliminary assessment can also be carried out if required by the research’s publication forum, funder, or international cooperation body.
In 2011 Aalto University established the Research Ethics Committee, which sees to the carrying out of preliminary ethical assessments at the university for non-medical research which relates to the human sciences. Statements on research projects that come under the Medical Research Act (488/1999) are provided by the ethical committees of the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS): HUS, ethical committees
Duties of the committee
Based on the guidelines on good scientific practice and ethical principles in fields of human sciences observed by the university, the duties of the Research Ethics Committee include:
1) preliminary evaluation of the ethical nature of research projects where the subjects are humans and issuing opinions on them, excluding research projects referred to in the Medical Research Act (laki lääketieteellisestä tutkimuksesta, 488/1999),
2) if necessary, also preliminary evaluations of the ethical nature of other research projects, unless proceeding to such an evaluation is, under legislation or otherwise, within the remit of another party,
3) serving as an expert organ in any problems related to research ethics arising at the university, however not in an ex-post investigation of violations against good scientific practice and fraud in science following the guidelines of the Research Ethics Committee,
4) providing advice in issues related to research ethics and promoting education in research ethics at the university,
5) maintaining debate on research ethics at the university,
6) monitoring the development of national research ethics guidelines and taking part in their development, for example by issuing opinions.
The committee does not handle violations of good scientific practice normality is relating to research fraud. These matters are dealt with in accordance with the procedures outlined in the instructions of the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity (TENK).
Handling of statements
Applications to be considered in the meetings of the Research Ethics Committee should be sent to the committee secretary no later than 21 days before the meeting in which the application will be dealt with.
The Research Ethics Committee meets regularly and is called together by the committee chairman. The committee prepares beforehand a timetable of the meetings for each term. The chairman may cancel a meeting before sending out the meeting notice if there is an insufficient number of matters to be dealt with in the meeting. Where needed, the committee also holds email meetings.
If it is not been possible to give notification of the meeting days beforehand, statement requests will be dealt with through committee email meetings within 21 days of the statement request being submitted. For the spring term, statement requests submitted before the beginning of June will be dealt with before Midsummer. Applications submitted after this date will be handled in August.
Statement requests are to be composed using the template approved by the committee. The form should be sent as a Word document because the statement will be added onto the same form.
The form is available in both Finnish and English. It is requested that English be primarily used for filling in the form. There is good cause for this particularly if the research group has non-Finnish members or there are non-Finnish members participating in the project. The working language of the Research Ethics Committee is English.
Each statement is prepared by two committee members who have expertise in the research area in question. If required, the members preparing the statement will request additional information from the applicant.
- Professor Mats Fridlund, Chairman, ENG
- Assistant Professor Paula Hohti ARTS
- PhD Tuija Takala BIZ
- University Teacher Juan José Valle-Delgado CHEM
- Professor Seppo Ovaska ELEC
- Assistant Professor Wojciech Solowski ENG
- Professor Riitta Salmelin SCI
- Professor Mikko Sams SCI
- Chief Physician, Erika Haaksiluoto, HUS, Medical Expert
- The Committee Secretary is Senior Legal Counsel Jari Söderström.
The committee’s term of office is 1.1.2018–31.12.2021.
- Secretary, Senior Legal Counsel Jari Söderström [email protected]