Research Ethics Review Committee

The Research Ethics Review Committee (RERC) advises researchers at FSS-VU about ethics issues in their upcoming research.

Who should apply

Only research project leaders @FSS-VU can submit research for ethics review. PhD students and master thesis students should ask their supervisor to submit the application. In exceptional circumstances researchers from outside FSS-VU can submit research proposals to the RERC. Contact the RERC secretary here.

Before submitting a new project, you should have prepared the following documents:

  1. Information for participants
  2. Consent form for participants
  3. A data management plan
  4. Research data anonymization procedure (if you collect personal or sensitive data)
  5. A short description of the research questions, the societal and scientific relevance of the research, and the research design (max. 1 A4)

The procedure for submitting a new project is:

  1. Self-check. Complete the ethics review self check when you plan a new research project. Go to the check list. The elements of the self check are displayed in a flow chart. The self check tells you whether your research requires full ethics review by the Research Ethics Review Committee. If your research does not require ethics review by the committee, you receive an email message containing your responses and a statement that your research complies with the guidelines of FSS-VU and you can start your research. If your research requires ethics review by the committee, proceed with the following step.
  2. Application. Fill out the ethics review application form and upload the required documents – the information letter, the consent form and a data management plan. You will receive an email message containing your responses. Save the result of your form for your reference.
  3. Full or expedited review. If your application raises minor or no ethical issues, an expedited review will follow by the secretary and one committee member. If your application raises more serious issues, the committee will discuss it at its next meeting. The committee meets once a month during the academic season (September – June), on the last Monday of the month.
  4. Advice. The committee will respond to your application with an advice.

The committee may ask you for clarification or further information regarding your application.

Time line
Plan enough time for the ethics review process. Complete the self-check 3 months before you start collecting data. In case your research requires full ethics review by the committee, reviewers need 10 days to read your application and give a recommendation to the committee.  Then the committee discusses your proposal at its next meeting (once a month). In case questions remain, you may have to resubmit your application. In case your research qualifies for expedited review, the advice will generally follow within one month after submission of the application.

  • René Bekkers (chair, until 1-1-2021)
  • Ivar Vermeulen (vice-chair, until 1-1-2019)
  • Peter van den Besselaar (until 1-1-2019)
  • Frédérique Six (until 1-12-2020)
  • Peter Versteeg (until 1-1-2021)
Stakeholders in research that is reviewed by the RERC can submit a complaint. The complaints procedure is as follows:
  • Persons who have a complaint about the research of employees of the FSS should, in first instance, contact the project leader of the relevant research to see if they can reach a joint solution.

  • If this does not lead to the desired result the complainant may contact the research portfolio holder of the faculty via the Research Support Office

  • The research portfolio holder responds to the complaint on behalf of the Faculty Board and, if desired, asks for the advice of others in the faculty (including the Research Ethics Review Committee and/or the head of the relevant department); depending on the severity of the complaint the portfolio holder may also decide to forward the complaint directly to the CWI.

  • If the complainant considers the reaction of the faculty insufficient, or if the faculty recommends it itself, the complaint can be submitted to the VU-VUmc Commission Scientific Integrity, in Dutch: Commissie Wetenschappelijke Integriteit (CWI). Here the CWI procedures are applied.

  • For guidance in the process and in the choices of possible steps, complainants can contact one of the representatives for scientific integrity of the VU, see website (Dutch).empty
If you have questions, send an email to the secretary Rob Kloppenburg or ask him over the phone: 020 598 6850 (Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday)