When is it necessary to conduct research on human subjects or on samples taken from humans? Do you collect data?

The following criteria specify when a research project should be evaluated on its ethical appropriateness:

  • Are humans exposed to hazardous substances or other risks of physical harm?
  • Is it likely that participants in the study will experience pain, emotional stress, fear, exhaustion, or other negative effects exceeding the level that is to be expected in normal daily routine?
  • Will the project involve participants from particularly vulnerable groups? Could participants feel that the research encroaches upon their privacy?
  • Will the project collect personal information that needs to be safeguarded by special means?
  • Is it possible that, for reasons inherent to the project itself, participants will not be fully informed about the project at the time they agree to participate?
  • Is it likely that participants will be seriously affected or exposed to critical situations during the data collection, processing, and archiving phases of the project until data deletion?

Please visit the following pages of the German Research Foundation (DFG) to find out in which cases the DFG requires project approval by the Ethics Commission:

Cases in which seeking feedback from the Ethics Commission is optional:

  • Do you require feedback on the aforementioned points?
  • Is there a need for further discussion on the research activities proposed?

Quite apart from a formal prerequisite for funding applications, a conversation with the Ethics Commission can help you raise your awareness for potential dangers that may arise from your research. Evaluating your own research project using our checklist will help you protect yourself. Based on this checklist, you can simply register your project with the Commission without formally requesting approval. Alternatively, you can also use the checklist as a basis to start a dialogue with us.