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Research Ethics Committee Faculty of Spatial Sciences

The Research Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Spatial Sciences (FSS) is exclusively intended for FSS staff members, PhD candidates and FSS students (only together with their supervisors) to help them attain ethical clearance for their research.

Academic freedom and independence is the leading principle of our research at all levels. The Faculty of Spatial Sciences of the University of Groningen is committed to promoting and maintaining high standards of integrity and accountability in the conduct of our academic research. The Magna Charta Universitatum states that to meet the needs of the world around us our research and teaching must be morally and intellectually independent of political authority and economic power. The Research Ethics Committee of the FSS aims to safeguard this culture of independence and freedom.

Following the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity we see good research as a practice based on four principles. The principle of reliability in ensuring the quality of research, reflected in the design, the methodology, the analysis and the use of resources. The principle of honesty in developing, undertaking, reviewing, reporting and communicating research in a transparent, fair, full and unbiased way. The principle of respect for colleagues, research participants, society, ecosystems, cultural heritage and the environment. And the principle of accountability for the research from idea to publication, for its management and organisation, for training, supervision and mentoring, and for its wider impacts.

Every researcher at the Faculty of Spatial Sciences works by the Netherlands Code of Conduct for Research Integrity. It was drafted by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), Netherlands Federation of University Medical Centres (NFU), Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), Associated Applied Research Institutes (TO2), Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences (VH), and the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU).

Furthermore, in the Netherlands The National Ethics Council for Social and Behavioural Sciences has developed a code of ethics for research involving human participants. The code is endorsed by all various social science institutes in the Netherlands. The Faculty of Spatial Sciences is exploring the possibility to endorse this code too. You can find the latest version of the code below.

The three step procedure for ethical clearance of your research

The figure below depicts the three step procedure for receiving ethical clearance of your research, the ethical issues you encounter determines how many steps you need to take.

  • If you have a plan to do research you can use the ethical check list first. Filling in the form will generally take just a few minutes. If you can check all the boxes with ‘no problem’ then you are done.
  • If you do see ethical issues but are confident that you can handle them well, you fill in the elaborate ‘full ethics questionnaire’ and self-certify it. You send it to the REC, and the REC will check it, but you can already go ahead with the research.
  • If you are in doubt about the ethics of your research please also fill in the ‘full ethics questionnaire’ and ask for our advice before you start the research.
Flowchart Research Ethics Committee
Flowchart Research Ethics Committee

The Information sheet and the agreement to participate form

For your service we also have two standard forms. An information sheet to participants of your research, which a.o. states aspects of confidentiality and participant rights. And an ‘Agreement to participate’ form, in which participant formally state that they I agree to participate and understand their rights.

Key documents


Other links:

The composition of the Research Ethics Committee


For more information about the working procedures of the Ethics Committee and how to apply for a research ethics review, please contact Jeannet Brondsema.

Last modified:07 June 2021 12.54 p.m.