Research Ethics

The Swiss Federal University for Vocational Education and Training (SFUVET) has its own Research Ethics Committee, which assists researchers and ensures that research at SFUVET is conducted in line with research ethics principles. SFUVET is a member of swissuniversities and adheres to both the Code of Conduct for Scientific Integrity drafted by the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences as well as the Human Research Act (HRA). The ethical guidelines established by associations representing specific disciplines also serve as a key frame of reference.

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SFUVET's Research Ethics Committee is comprised of five members, all of whom work as professors at SFUVET. Committee members are specialised in various scientific disciplines and use different research methods. The combined expertise of committee members therefore covers the full range of scientific activities carried out at SFUVET. If necessary, outside experts can also be called in for consultation.

President of the Research Committee

Members of the Research Committee

Information for researchers

Scientific Integrity

SFUVET guarantees academic freedom to encourage the search for new knowledge and the expansion of existing knowledge. SFUVET research is aligned with the ethical principles required for good scientific work. These principles are set out in the Code of Conduct for Scientific Integrity, which was drafted by the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences in 2021.

Tasks of the Research Ethics Committee

Upon request, the Research Ethics Committee shall verify fulfilment of the ethical requirements of research projects of SFUVET if:

a) an audit is required by external bodies, or

b) the relevant guidelines are not met, based on the self-assessment (checklist) submitted by the project manager.

The Research Ethics Committee shall examine whether participants in SFUVET research projects are afforded adequate protection and whether the relevant guidelines are complied with. It shall issue an opinion on the ethical aspects of the submitted research project.

What steps are involved in the ethical approval process?
Process Ethical Approval
  1. At the very start of development of a new research project, researchers are asked to answer a series of questions contained in a checklist. If there are no objectionable aspects in the research project, then the researcher will be assigned a registration number and can begin the project. The checklist can only be filled out and submitted online via the Superform.
  2. If there are any doubts regarding compliance with ethical principles, then the researcher will need to submit a full review form to seek ethical approval. If the Research Ethics Committee approves the project, then research can begin. Otherwise, the Research Ethics Committee will ask the researcher to revise the project and resubmit the full review form.
What is 'informed consent'?

'Informed consent' is a core ethical principle underpinning research. It means that potential participants in a given study must receive adequate information enabling them to decide whether or not to take part in the study.

Implementation of this principle may vary depending on the chosen research method. For studies based on questionnaires or qualitative interviews, for example, the required informed consent can be obtained by various means (written or oral).

In the case of observations of participants in public spaces (e.g. major train station), it is generally neither possible nor necessary to obtain the informed consent of all of the people present.

In ethnographic studies, it is often only possible to obtain oral informed consent (e.g. from key persons). In such cases, the researchers will indicate (e.g. in field notes or postscripts) how informed consent was obtained.

Information, guidance and templates for oral and written informed consent: University of Oxford

References: The informed consent as legal and ethical basis of research data production (FORS)