Conducting ethical research

There are a number of regulations you are obliged to comply with when conducting research. Before you start your research, you must make sure you have the permits and approvals required. When you apply for a grant from the Swedish Research Council, you must state how you plan to manage legal requirements as well as other ethical aspects of your research.

Describe the ethical issues raised by the research

In your application to us, you shall reflect on the ethical issues raised by the project or corresponding. You must also describe how you plan to address ethical problems that may arise. Against the background of the ethical issues identified, you must justify why the research should be carried out.

Some research requires approval or a permit

Some research may only be conducted if it has passed an ethical review.

Applications for ethical approval of research relating to humans shall be submittet to the Swedish Ethical Review Authority External link., according to to ethical review legislation (Lag (2003:460) om etikprövning av forskning som avser människor). The purpose of the legislation is to protect individual persons and ensure respect for human dignity in research. Approval is required for research that, for example, involves physical intervention on humans, is done using human tissue, or includes handling sensitive personal data.

Applications for ethical approval of research involving animals shall be submitted to a regional animal ethics board External link. according to animal protection legislation (Djurskyddslag (2018:1192)). Experiments on animals must only be used where there are no alternative methods.

Depending on the type of research you will conduct, you may need other approvals or permits. This can, for example, be research that includes

  • use of ionising radiation
  • implementation of a clinical trial
  • use of human material in a biobank
  • use of genetic resources or associated traditional knowledge
  • products with double areas of use
  • handling of personal data.

If you are awarded funding from the Swedish Research Council, you as applicant are responsible for ensuring that the permits and approvals required have been obtained before your research begins. Do not send the permits to us unless we expressly ask for them. In your application, you must also state and describe which approvals and permits are required, and how you plan to obtain these.

Research carried out abroad

If any part of the research will be carried out in another country, you will need to find out whether the country in question has requirements over and above the legislation applicable in Sweden. Any permits or approvals must also be in place before the research begins.

The research funded by us must live up to the ethical standard that applies in Sweden, even if the research or parts of it are carried out abroad. The Swedish Research Council does not support activities that are relocated abroad in order to circumvent the ethical requirements and regulations that exist in Sweden.

Follow good research practice

As a researcher, you are responsible for following good research practice. The research principal, that is, your administrating organisation, also has overall responsibility to ensure the activities are carried out according to good research practice.

You and the administrating organisation confirm your joint responsibility when you approve the terms and conditions of the Swedish Research Council’s grant decision.




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