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Human Sciences Ethics Committee
In its assessments, the independent Human Sciences Ethics Committee at VUB endorses the general research policy of the university, such as striving for a healthy research culture, quality research output, and scientific integrity in research.
The Committee provides ethical advice to researchers. It verifies the compatibility of research submitted for its opinion with ethical principles and standards. It can provide general ethical policy advice concerning research developments, insofar as these have a clear ethical dimension and are relevant to our university.
The composition of the Committee represents all disciplines in Human Sciences. The full members and their deputies are appointed by the Research Council according to its rules governing the special advisory bodies of the Council. The Committee includes at least one ethicist and one jurist.
Dual Technologies, Military Research and Misuse Ethics Committee
The Dual Technologies, Military Research and Misuse Ethics Committee is responsible for:
- Verifying that VUB activities comply with the relevant provisions on exporting dual technologies and military goods.
- Ethical evaluation of activities undertaken in cooperation with military or defence partners, or financed by military or defence funding.
- Evaluating research activities at risk of misuse and providing advice or drafting measures to mitigate the risks.
- Granting ethical approval for projects involving ‘dual technologies’, military research or projects with a risk of research misuse.
- Providing advice and support to the VUB community regarding ‘dual technologies’, military research and possible misuse of research.
The ECDMM is part of the Legal and Ethics Office within the VUB Department of Research and Data Management.
Contact Point for Access & Benefit Sharing
The VUB Contact Point for Access & Benefit Sharing is responsible for:
- Supporting VUB researchers in complying with the Nagoya Protocol.
- Supporting VUB researchers in other aspects of fairness and benefit-sharing in relation to research processes and results.
The Contact Point is part of the Legal and Ethics Office within the VUB Department of Research and Data Management.
Ethics and International Cooperation Contact Point
The Ethics and International Cooperation Contact Point is responsible for:
- Helping researchers evaluate the impact of their work on ethics and human rights, and in particular on the implementation of the Human Rights Check of the Flemish Interuniversity Council.
- Helping researchers avoid 'ethics dumping' (i.e., the risk that research abroad is carried out under less strict ethical controls than in Belgium).
- Helping deal with risks associated with travel to high-risk areas.
- Support in obtaining export or import licenses.
- Other ethical aspects of international activities and cooperation.
Data Protection Office
It is likely that you will work with personal data as part of your research. A broad range of privacy and data protection legislation applies to this. Such things as sending e-mails to colleagues, taking and processing surveys, or analysing publicly available information posted on social media are all covered by privacy legislation (including the well-known ‘GDPR’, General Data Protection Regulation, which has been in force since 25 May 2018).
It is important that researchers are aware of the ways in which they handle personal data and what the consequences may be. One example is that all personal data processed by researchers without a legitimate basis must be deleted. Every researcher must always comply with the law, and this also applies to privacy and data protection law. In addition, scientists are judged according to higher standards of accurate and ethical behaviour, which ensures that the academic community is trusted and speaks with authority.
Fortunately, the Data Protection Office helps researchers meet these high standards and continue to protect the fundamental right to privacy - without making the practice of science suffer.
Do you have questions about privacy legislation (such as the GDPR) and what it means for your research?
VUB researchers can log in to the DPO website.
Log in here