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Research Ethics Committee

When do researchers need REC approval

At SDU, review by the REC is a non-compulsory offer. However, external organizations, such as for example the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the US, European funders, or journals, frequently demand ethical approval before granting funds, accepting a publication or engaging in other types of partnering activities, and researchers are required to prove that their research project complies with the relevant ethical requirements.

Research projects that have already been approved by the Danish Regional or National Ethical Committee System (RVK or NVK) or other accepted ethical bodies (such as Dyreforsøgstilsynet/Danish Animal Experiments Inspectorate for experiments involving animals) do not need approval by the SDU REC for Danish research projects. However, such projects will often also need REC approval if funded by a US grant.

For questions regarding GDPR in the narrow sense, please contact SDU’s Data Protection Officer (DPO) Simon Kamber  by mail

How to apply for REC approval

The REC will review and approve research projects with SDU researchers as principal investigators. SDU-researchers from PhD-students onwards can apply for review.

If you want to submit a project to the REC for approval, you need to hand in a project description as well as a completed application questionnaire, along with certain documentation.  

The application questionnaire asks, among other things, for a description of the project in lay person terms, in Danish. All other documentation and application material should as a ground rule be in English and should be readily comprehensible for experienced reviewers with a broad understanding of scientific practices and methods. The documentation should not require special expertise in the specific field of research.   

The cases will be pre-reviewed by the REC-member representing your faculty, as well as one other member, and will then be presented to the REC for discussion and decision.

Deadline for the submission of application is four weeks before the next meeting date.

For detailed information as well as to receive the application documents, please contact Jakob Ousager.

Meeting dates 2021

  • January 14 (application deadline December 17, 2020)
  • February 10 (application deadline January 13)
  • March 10 (application deadline February 10)
  • April 14 (application deadline March 17)
  • May 12 (application deadline April 14)
  • June 9 (application deadline May 12)
  • August 18 (application deadline June 16)
  • September 15 (application deadline August 18)
  • October 13 (application deadline September 22)
  • November 10 (application deadline October 13)
  • December 8 (application deadline November 10)

Approval duration and renewal

All REC approvals issued as from 2021 shall have a period of validity of 6 or 12 months from the date of issue.
If the project is still active when the approval expires, you can request a renewal of the approval.
In practice you will receive an invitation with a link to an application for renewal of the approval. REC sends the invitation approximately two months before the approval expires. This happens automatically, and therefore does not require you to ask for it.
You will be asked to indicate if the project is still active, if it is progressing as planned, and if the basis on which the approval was granted is still valid. The REC will then assess whether a renewal can be issued, or whether you will be asked to provide further information.
The practice of issuing approvals with a certain period of validity helps to ensure that REC's approvals meet international standards.

Committee members

The REC includes a chair person, a lay/community representative, two representatives from the administration, and two representatives from each of SDU’s five faculties (one primary member, one alternate member). The REC is supported by a Research Ethics Consultant who serves as the point of contact.

The REC-members appointed by the faculties are:

  • Chair: Professor Kirsten Kyvik (Fac. of Health Sciences, Dept. of Clinical Research)
  • Lay/community representative: Pastor Susanne Haastrup Holst
  • Faculty of Science: Professor Frank Kjeldsen (BMB, co-chair), Ass. Professor Lasse Jakobsen (Biology)
  • Faculty of Humanities: Ass. Professor Stig Børsen Hansen (IDK), Professor Anne Gerdes (IDK)
  • Faculty of Engineering: Ass. Professor Eva Arnspang Christensen (KBM), Professor Uffe Kock Wiil (MMMI)
  • Faculty of Health Sciences: Ass. Professor Søren Fryd Birkeland (OPEN), Ass. Professor Henrik Steen Hansen (KI)
  • Faculty of Business and Social Sciences: Professor Stephan Billinger (IMM), Professor Morten Skovsgaard (Centre for Journalism)
  • Corporate Communication: Head of Media Relations Bolette Marie Kjær Jørgensen
  • SDU Library: Research Librarian Lone Bredahl Jensen, Research Librarian Mette Brandt Eriksen

The background of the REC

When applying for external funding or when submitting papers to leading scientific journals, researchers are more and more often demanded to prove that their research projects comply with certain ethical standards. Previously, SDU did not have one uniform way, accepted broadly by external funders and journals, of providing ethical support and approval.

By establishing a university-wide Research Ethics Committee, SDU aims to provide such ethical support and an approval system that is helpful for researchers.
In the US system, a committee like this is called Institutional Review Board (IRB). SDU’s REC is listed by the US Dept. of Health and Human Services, Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) as IORG0010945.

REC was initiated by RI Council (RI-rådet) in February 2018 and approved by the SDU Executive Board (SDU Direktionen) in May 2018. 


For questions please contact Jakob Ousager.

Last Updated 20.04.2021