— The Norwegian National Research Ehtics Committees (FEK) has a very important role in society. We work to make sure all science in Norway is
conducted in accordance with recognized research ethics norms, and to ensure public trust in science. I look forward to taking this work forward, says Helene Ingierd.
She holds a Phd in political science from the University of Oslo, and has worked as a scienctist at The Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) before joining FEK in 2008. At FEK, she has been the director of both The National Committee for Research Ethics in Science and Technology (NENT) and The Norwegian National Research Ethics Committee for the Social Sciences and the Humanities, and a secretary for The National Committee for Research Ethics on Human Remains. Ingierd has also been a member of the working group for the Research Integrity in Norway (RINO) research project.
Big data and training
This past year, Ingierd has lead a working group joining representatives of all FEKs committees to make a report on big data in research (due fall 2020). The goal is to map challenges and give recommendations for an ethically sound use of big data in research.
— The increasing production, exchange and use of data affects our lives, relationships and societies in new and unexpected ways. We see that research with big data places some norms under pressure. Therefore, big data is a professionally prioritized area for the committees in 2020. In addition, we emphasize the institutions' responsibility for research ethics. There is great demand for training resources, and we will continue to help meet this demand, says Ingierd.
One measure she wants to take is a national survey.
— We think it would be highly valuable to systematically map how the institutions follow up the Research Ethics Act. This is important in order to be able to further support the research institutions and to design appropriate measures and resources. We hope to be able to carry out such work in 2022.
Finally, Ingierd points out that she will work to promote dialogue with several different collaborative partners.
— In 2019, we received several inquiries from non-researchers who expressed concern about the adherence to research ethics guidelines in different broad collaborative projects. This shows the importance of having parties other than researchers and research institutions take research ethics into account in their work, so that collaboration across organizations becomes ethically responsible. The legitimacy of the research depends entirely on the trust from research participants and society.