In the case of research projects on or with humans, the principal investigators generally weigh up the proportionality of the probable burdens and risks for the study participants with regard to the expected gain in knowledge. They dispense with burdens and risks that are not absolutely necessary for the research project. In most cases, an ethical examination and approval of a research project is necessary. The UZH Ethics Policy provides information on the applicable legal foundations and procedures for the ethical examination of research projects.
The following sections can provide rough guidance on whether ethical examination and approval is necessary.
Human Research Act (HFG) applies to research project
The HFG applies to research on human diseases as well as on the structure and function of the human body. Studies that are within the scope of the HFG are for example:
- All clinical studies
- Studies with measurements in or on the body (MRI, ultrasound, EEG, saliva sample, blood sampling, urine sample, etc.) with the aim of understanding diseases or the body's structure and function
- Observation studies and experiments aimed at understanding diseases or the structure and function of the body
- Collection or further use of health-related personal data with the aim of understanding diseases or the structure and function of the body
You can perform a self-assessment using the Data Protection/Ethics Self-Assessment Tool (DESAT).
A final assessment of whether a research project falls under the HFG and therefore must be approved or not can be requested from the KEK for a fee (clarification of responsibility).
HFG doesn’t apply to research project, but ethical examination is required
- a research funding organisation requires an ethical examination
- a publisher requires an ethical examination
- for feedback and improvement in quality
The following faculties offer an ethical examination in these cases: