Frequently Asked Questions

TU Wien has currently a pilot research ethics committee (TU-REC) from which you can obtain an informal peer review and recommendations for your research design. We expect a kick-off for the TU Research Ethics Board in 2021. If you have a question concerning ethics approval for your research, please contact the research ethics coordinator.

First of all: congratulations! TU Wien has a Pilot Ethics Committee that is happy to perform an informal peer review of your proposal or project. We look at projects on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the Research Ethics Coordinator for more information and support. Do not worry; a solution will be found.

Yes, do identify any ethics issues that your work raises in the Ethics Issues Form. Once you have identified at least one issue in the form, you must also write an Ethics Self-Assessment in the Ethics Section of the proposal. Not identifying the issues does not make your proposal pass faster or with less effort through the evaluation – quite the opposite. All proposals that are considered for funding in Horizon Europe go through an ethics review procedure. If you need any support, Contact the Ethics Coordinator for tips. Remember, the time you save by not addressing ethics in your Horizon Europe proposal may result in much more time spent in the Grant Agreement phase or in the project itself. Your project funding does not cover that effort unless you have considered it in the proposal phase.

Please contact the Research Ethics Coordinator as soon as your research problem and methodology are so clear that you can explain them in lay terms to another person. As addressing your ethics issues may take some writing effort, do not leave your consultation until the last minute. Plan ahead and get in touch for an appointment well in time before your deadline.

The legal questions concerning privacy and data protection are best answered by legal experts. Please refer to the pages of the Data Protection Officer.

PhD students need support in research ethics just as much as more senior research staff members do. At best, your thesis supervisor should initiate the contact with the research ethics coordination. In case there are more PhD students who could benefit from research ethics guidance, a training session can be arranged. 

In principle, involvement of students in research is encouraged. When your students participate in your study, they can closely see how research is being done and learn a lot for their own research projects. However: involving students in research can also be ethically problematic. This has to do with the fact that all research involving people is supposed to be based on a free and informed consent. If students who are in your course are asked to participate in your research, they may not feel quite free to refuse. This is in particular the case if participation is tied to course work. If you make research part of your course work, make sure research participation is but one option among other meaningful options from which students can choose. Also, make sure that participation in or opting out of the study does not affect grading. Your students should have the possibility to get full points in the course without participating in the study. For participating in the study, only extra or “bonus” points should be possible. You should also offer a meaningful alternative to obtaining additional points for those who do not wish to be part of your study.
Make sure that you obtain informed consent and document the consent procedures.
Describe the risk of harm to your students and make sure that they can opt out of your study at any time, without any consequences. If research involves persons in dependent relationships to you (such as your students in your course), they can be considered vulnerable, raising ethical concerns.
Be aware that involving students as research participants is likely to be flagged by international journals and/or conferences as an issue that requires formal ethics scrutiny by a research ethics committee. You can submit your work to ethical peer review by the Pilot Research Ethics Committee.
Please get in touch with Research Ethics Coordination if you have any further questions, we are happy to support you.