Ethical Concerns


Researchers should consider the general ethical assumptions of their research. When in doubt about the ethical admissibility, the faculty ethical committee should be consulted by means of an ethical application.

How to apply?

  • The deadline for submissions of ethical applications is always the 15th of each month (midnight) to receive feedback by the 15th of the next month. There is no deadline in July; all applications received between June 16 and August 15 will be assessed together.
  • Applications should always be sent to both Thierry Marchant and  (Griet Roets)
  • The application email includes:
    1. the specific ethical protocol in its proper form (to be downloaded);
    2. all documents that will be presented to sign by the participants including the invitation/information letter.
    3. A copy of the data management plan (if the study requires one)
    4. A copy of the GDPR-record (when the study involves processing of personal information)
    If you do not submit one of these documents, please motivate it in your application email.
  • Please carefully read the General Ethical Protocol before applying.
  • Applications will only be reviewed for approved projects. Applications concerning projects that have not been filed yet (e.g. with the FWO) or are under review awaiting approval will not be considered by the ethical commission. 
  • Applications for master theses are submitted by the supervisor.
To give you an idea of what a typical application looks like, we have provided some examples. These examples are inspired by real applications. You can find the example files on this page.

Ethics clinic

Researchers are invited to contact the head of the EC (Thierry Marchant) regarding ethical questions prior to submitting an ethical application. The goal of this 'ethics clinic' is to prevent unnecessary delay in case of uncertainty of what the ethical committee might expect, issues that might cause ethical concerns, or when answering specific questions of the SEP (specific ethical protocol).

Protocols and Informed Consent

Ethical issues in research data management

In the specific ethical protocol one is asked to mention all data management related actions having potential ethical implications. This is especially the case for personal and sensitive data. When managing this kind of data, better keep in mind the following points:

Data security is of paramount importance to ensure the privacy of participants. These are some guidelines:

  • Access to personal or sensitive data should not be possible for unauthorized people. This means for instance that the data should be kept in a secure area (e.g., a secured DICT share). Also, it should be planned in advance who will have which access rights and how access to the data will be organized.
  • Sensitive data should anonymized as quickly as possible. If this is not possible, the data should be encrypted.
  • Keep personal data separate from research data
  • Do not collect personal or sensitive data if this is not strictly necessary for your research.


  • Give information to the participants  about the usage of personal or sensitive data. Explain how this information collected about them will be used, stored, processed, transmitted, shared and destroyed.
  • If you have plans to share data, explain which data will be shared and with whom.