PublISHED ON 30 April 2018

UpDATED ON 01 June 2018

Ethical research

When applying for a grant from the Swedish Research Council, you should report how you plan to deal with ethical issues that arise in your research. You may, for example, require approval from an ethical review board or an animal ethics committee. Make sure you have the necessary permits and approvals before starting your research.

Describe the ethical issues involved in the research

In your application you must describe the ethical issues involved in your project or equivalent. You must also report how you plan to handle ethical dilemmas that may arise. In the light of the ethical issues you have identified, you must justify why the research should be conducted. How do your research topics and expected results stand in relation to ethical issues?

A permit is required for certain research

Some research can only be conducted following approval in an ethical review. For example, you should always apply for a permit when your research involves living and/or deceased persons, human biological material, processing of sensitive personal data or personal data relating to breaches of the law, experiments on animals, medicines, genetically modified organisms orionising radiation.

Permits for research involving people are applied for via an ethical review boardexternal link, according to the Act concerning the Ethical Review of Research Involving Humans. The Act exists to protect people – physically, mentally and in terms of integrity.

Permits for research involving animals are applied for via an animal ethics committeeexternal link, according to the Animal Protection Act. Experiments on animals are only permitted as a last resort when all alternative methods have been eliminated.

As applicant for a grant, you are responsible for obtaining the necessary permits and approvals before starting the relevant part of the research. You should not submit the permit to us unless we specifically request it.

New ways to promote good research practice and manage unethical behaviour

In spring 2017, the results of an inquiry were presented proposing new ways to promote good research practice and manage unethical behaviour (scientific misconduct). The proposals include

  • that a new public authority, the Misconduct Board, assumes responsibility for handling suspicions of misconduct and for investigating and deciding on such cases.
  • that new guidelines to promote good research practice – a Code of Conduct – is established, under which the responsibilities of individual researchers to follow good research practice are clarified.
  • that a new definition of the concept of scientific misconduct is introduced, in brief: fabrication, forgery, plagiarism (FFP).

The amendments are proposed to enter into force on 1 January 2019. Read the full results of the inquiry here

Read more about ethical issues

We have compiled a number of links to other websites with more information about ethical guidelines and advice on dealing with ethical issues:

Codex – rules and guidelines for researchexternal link

ALLEA – European Code of Conduct for Research Integrityexternal link

SATORI – outline of an ethics assessment frameworkexternal link

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The Swedish Research Council has two advisory groups responsible for ethical issues


  1. Expert Group on Ethics

    The Expert Group advises the Swedish Research Council on issues relating to ethics. The Expert Group has seven members, representing the areas of ethics, law, medicine and health, natural and engineering sciences, and the humanities and social scienc...

  2. Open access to publications

    A condition for receiving a grant from us is that you publish your research articles so that they are available to all, free of charge on the internet. We only accept articles that are published with open access in your reporting on grants.

  3. Specific grant T&C

    Besides the general terms and conditions for grants, there are also specific terms and conditions for most of our calls. The specific terms and conditions for a call are stated in the call text. The terms and conditions are then adopted when the gran...