The mission of the Viikki Campus Research Ethics Committee is to review the ethics of studies conducted on animals that fall out of the scope of the Act on the Use of Animals for Experimental Purposes.
Assessing the ethics of medical and non-medical research on human subjects as well as of studies under the scope of the Act on the Use of Animals for Experimental Purposes falls outside the committee’s mandate.
The committee offers consultation in matters relating to research ethics, and provides advice for solving research ethics problems on the campus.
Clinical Instructor Laura Hänninen.
Specialist (Research Services) Seija Oikarinen, PhD. Contact by email!
The Viikki Campus Research Ethics Committee meetings scheduled for 2021 are as follows:
The requests for a statement that applicants wish to submit for processing in the meetings must be sent as one PDF document no later than two weeks before the meeting in question.
The committee recommends that the requests for a statement are submitted before conducting the research.
If you have any questions, please contact the committee secretary via email.
Researchers should acquaint themselves with the Regional State Administrative Agency instructions on the use of animals for scientific and teaching purposes.
Opinions on the ethics of research can be requested from the Viikki Campus Research Ethics Committee for the following study types.
Does reviewing my survey fall within the purview of the Viikki Campus Research Ethics Committee or the Ethics Review Board in the Humanities and Social and Behavioural Sciences?
Occasionally, information on animal subjects is collected through surveys targeted at animal owners. In these cases, the nature of the research is based on both human and animal sciences. For these studies, a single opinion from one of the two ethics committees will suffice.
If surveys are used to gather information only on animal subjects and/or if the study includes the examination of animal subjects with other methods (e.g., sample collection, dietary changes, etc.), ethics review applications are to be submitted to the Viikki Campus Research Ethics Committee.
When the sole purpose of a survey is to gather information on animal owners (for example, surveys focused on the owners’ methods for treating their animals, the significance of animals to their owners, etc.), reviews will be requested from the Ethics Review Board in the Humanities and Social and Behavioural Sciences.
When necessary, the committees will support each other in reviewing the ethics of studies that fall in between these two categories.
If uncertain of the committee to which the application is to be submitted, please ask the committee secretary for advice by email. In reviewing study elements related to human subjects, the
committees observe the ethical principles of the National Advisory Board on Research
Applications for research ethics reviews must be submitted before study implementation.
For special and well-grounded reasons studies can be reviewed retroactively. If a retroactive review is required, please contact the committee secretary in good time for further instructions.
Review applications to be examined in committee meetings should be sent by email to the committee secretary. Applications for ethics reviews, including all necessary attachments, must be sent as a single PDF document no later than two weeks prior to the meeting in questions.
The Committee will review the application in its meeting and make a decision to either give an opinion on research ethics or to ask further clarification or supplementary information from the investigator. Reviews or requests for supplementary information will be sent to investigators by email within two weeks of the meeting.
Requests for supplementary information should be answered as soon as possible. Minor supplements to applications will be reviewed in an expedited manner before the next meeting. More substantial supplements demonstrating a change in the experimental setting significant to research ethics will be examined at the next committee meeting.
Applications may be written in Finnish, Swedish or English.
Material to be given to animal owners must be drafted in a language that they understand.
Applications should include the following sections:
Below are more detailed instructions for drafting these sections.
The cover letter must contain at least the following details:
The proposal, no longer than three pages, is a concise and clear description of the study.
Abbreviations and field-specific jargon should be avoided. The research proposal is scientifically grounded by referring to the most important prior studies supporting the proposal.
A brief research proposal includes at least the following information:
In their personal assessment, the principal investigator must consider, among other things,
The assessment must weigh up potential adverse effects and inconveniences caused by study participation to animals or animal owners in relation to the desired knowledge value of the study and potential benefits for participating animals.
Study ethics can be reviewed also from wider perspectives, for example from the perspective of society or environmental protection.
How will the study observe the 3R principle (Replacement, Reduction, Refinement)? Why will the study be conducted on animals and the species/breed in question? How is the number of required animals justified? How are the risks and adverse effects caused by the study minimised? Why is the research design in its entirety the best option for obtaining the desired results?
What are the primary inclusion and exclusion criteria for individual animals? Are there special groups, such as newborn, old or sick animals, or rare species, among the study participants?
Should any procedures be conducted on animals, their foreseeable risks, benefits, adverse effects and discomforts must be assessed, for example in comparison with regular treatment visits.
Should any participating animals be put down, relevant criteria must be assessed and justification must be given. Are there alternatives to putting animals down and if there are, why are these not utilised? This item requires special attention when putting down animals is a routine procedure in the research proposal, not only a last resort in emergencies.
If the investigative product is medicinal, its safety and efficacy must be assessed on the basis of information collected so far (please describe briefly the results of prior, relevant studies and adverse effects). Potential requirements for an advance notification for clinical trials on veterinary medicinal products from the Finnish Medicines Agency Fimea must be verified.
If the investigative product is not medicinal (e.g., food additives), its safety must be assessed on the basis of scientifically peer-reviewed research data collected so far.
If a placebo or control compound is used in the study, its use must be assessed and justified. What risks and adverse effects can lack of treatment cause and how will potential adverse events be handled? This should be considered also in the event animals are used to test a procedure on whose safety and efficacy there is no consensus due to lack of extensive and applicable scientific research.
If personal data will be collected during the study, a description of data management and protection must be provided. It is recommended to read the privacy section of the Ethical Principles of Research in the Humanities and Social and Behavioural Sciences.
Have animal owners been provided with appropriate information before giving their consent?
The information sheet should include all relevant information about the study that the subject animal owner needs to give informed consent for participation.
The following study details will be described in a concrete manner and in layman's terms:
As a rule, the consent form is no more than one page in length, but it should contain a summary of all relevant elements for which written consent is required:
This includes e.g.
If personal data is processed in the study, University of Helsinki researchers should familiarise themselves with guides on data protection for researchers and the privacy notice of the scientific research (link to Flamma intranet, requires login).
The researcher fills in the privacy notice of the scientific research and attaches it to the end of their application.
The requests for a statement must be sent as one PDF document no later than two weeks before the meeting in question.