Ethical review of research with human participants

Research often involves human participants. For example, research into social and cultural changes in society, criminal behaviour, economic decision-making, or psychological development. Researchers have the important moral responsibility to conduct their research with respect and care for participants, as well as the implications of the research for the greater community.  Important values and principles have been made explicit in ethical codes of conduct which aim to avoid exploitation of participants, and in general to serve the interests, autonomy and dignity of research participants, as well as society in general.

To safeguard these and other aspects of research on humans, ethical review boards have been implemented. These committees assess research protocols on, among other things, potential harm to the participant, consent, the adequacy of the information to participants, and data protection. How ethical dilemmas are dealt with may depend on the type of research. For this reason, the different ethical committees focus on different fields of science. Moreover, the committees work together to share expertise. Below you find a list of links to the ethical review boards for the different sciences. There you will also find contact details.

Complaints
If you have a complaint about how a particular research is being conducted, and you feel you cannot solve this with the responsible investigator, you can address your complaint to the appropriate ethical committee, as listed above. Every committee has a complaints procedure. If you do not know to which board you can direct your complaint, or you have other questions or remarks, you can also contact the people below.

Contact details
Secretary central coordination ethical review : Drs. Niki Konijn, n.m.konijn@vu.nl
Chair: Prof. Christian Olivers, c.n.l.olivers@vu.nl