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The Research Ethics Committee

Members, mandate and tasks of NTNU’s Research Ethics Committee.

Norwegian version: Forskningsetisk utvalg

The Research Ethics Committee for the period 2018–2021 consists of six members. The committee has been given a mandate, regulations governing the procedures in the committee itself, and procedures for processes at the faculties in connection with suspected misconduct in research. 

Members of the committee 1 May 2018–1 May 2021 #

Chair: Professor Arne Kristian Sandvik

Deputy Chair: Professor May Thorseth

Associate professor Sule Yildirim

PhD candidate Tanja Plasil

Professor Guttorm Sindre

Dr. juris lagdommer Bjørn O. Berg, Frostating lagmannsrett

At the first meeting of the committee, Professor May Thorseth was elected as Deputy Chair.

Administration Office #

Coordinator and Senior Adviser Ragnhild Lofthus 

Legal Adviser Didrik Tårnesvik

Tasks of the committee #

At NTNU, suspicion of misconduct must primarily be handled close to where the possible misconduct has occurred. Department and faculty management is responsible for ensuring that academic activity complies with national and international standards for research ethics.

If there is uncertainty about dealing with a potential case of misconduct, the chair or administration office of the committee can be contacted. Additional information can be found at The Ethics Portal and the The Norwegian National Research Ethics Committees.

Mandate #

Responsibility #

§6 of the Research Ethics Act (forskningetikkloven) requires NTNU to have Research Ethics Committee. This committee was established by NTNU's Rector on 12 of June 2014. The Research Ethics Committee is the university's advisory body for research ethics and the audit committee responsible for NTNU and Helse Midt-Norge RHF.

The committee shall:

  • deal with and report on cases suspected of scientific dishonesty or possible breaches of recognized ethical standards of research ethics
  • provide guidance in both, general and concrete cases containing research ethics (only for NTNU)

When issuing a statement in cases of suspicion of scientific dishonesty or possible breaches of recognized research ethics, the committee's statements have to be in writing and include a reasoned assessment with a conclusion.

If the committee concludes that there is no scientific dishonesty under the Research Ethics Act, this must be clearly and unambiguously specified in the statement. Also, if the committee concludes that there is scientific misconduct or other violations of recognized ethical research standards this must be confirmed in the statement. The department where the involved researcher(s) is/are employed should follow up the recommendation of the Committee.

In such cases the committee has to decide: (cf. Research Ethics Act, §8 article 1).

1. Whether the scientist has behaved scientifically fraudulently or not

2. If there are system failures at the institution and

3. If the scientific work should be corrected or withdrawn

Organization and appointment #

§6, article 2, of the Research Ethics Act requires that NTNU's ethics committee has the necessary expertise in research, research ethics and law. The committee shall consist of six permanent members.

  • The committee must have at least one member who is not employed by the institution.
  • A permanent external member is appointed, and the person should be a lawyer. (If it is not possible to find an external lawyer, it is possible to obtain an external member with expertise as a researcher or within research ethics, as well as an internal lawyer).
  • The internal NTNU members should jointly ensure a variety in research backgrounds and the necessary proficiency in doing research. They should further have leadership experience either from  NTNU internal positions or from other research-relevant governing bodies.
  • One of the internal members must be a PhD candidate.
  • At least one of the members must have previous professional competence or experience working with ethics.
  • The committee is led by a researcher permanently employed at NTNU (a permanent scientific employee (preferably professor) who is an active researcher).

The committee is appointed by the Rector for a period of 3 years at a time. Each member can sit continuously for a maximum of three periods. The committee appoints a deputy chairman.

In individual cases candidates with special expertise or legal competence can be appointed. In cases of Helse Midt-Norge RHF, an internal candidate can be appointed.

The committee may consider engaging an expert committee consisting of experts in the field concerned, to assess particular cases or specific issues related to particular cases. The expert group can be composed of researchers from NTNU or external researchers. Expert groups must be given a clearly defined mandate. This mandate ends once they submit their findings to the Research Ethics Committee.

Reporting and public access #

The committee has to submit an annual report on its activities to the Rector. The committee's activities shall be accessible to the general public. This only in as far as there is no breach of privacy or confidentiality.  The administrative office of the committee is attached to the general NTNU Administration and / or the Rector's staff.

Research Ethics Seminars #

In cooperation with the rector, the committee organizes seminars about topics concerned with research ethics. This in order to stimulate debate and reflection on research ethics among both, researchers and administration. The goal is to raise awareness about what is proper research and appropriate research ethics practice.

The committee also organizes seminars aimed at the general public to give a picture of the role and responsibility of research in the development of society.

Documents #

Annual Report The Research Ethics Committee 2017, in Norwegian: 
Årsrapport Forskningsetisk utvalg 2017

Guidelines for the treatment of possible scientific dishonesty, in Norwegian: 
Retningslinjer for behandling av mulig uredelighet i forskning

Suspision of scientific dishonesty – a guideline, in Norwegian: 
Mistanke om forskningsjuks – slik går du fram

Contact #

For further questions, please contact:

Ragnhild Lofthus or 

Didrik Tårnesvik

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