How does the ethical review process work in Norway and which are the designated ethics committees?

There are seven regional ethics committees in Norway, which correspond to the National Health Service organization: Eastern, Southern, Western, Central and Northern. In the Eastern and Southern regions there are two committees for each region.

The remit of the committees includes the entire health area (not only medicine) and includes research on health information and biological material as long as the purpose of the research is to gain new knowledge in medicine and health care.

As of 2009 health care research is regulated by the Health Research Act. It aimed at regulating medical research by one law and allow for only one review of projects. This task was given to REK. It means that it also reviews issues of privacy, secrecy and establishment of biobanks. The only exception is clinical trials that also need permission from the Medicinal Health Authority.

REK is regulated by a separate Act (not available in English). The main thrust is that the committees are independent committees which cannot be instructed by anyone. The composition of nine members of the committee: interdisciplinary professional background (medicine, psychology, nursing, law, ethics) and two lay representatives (of which one should be recruited from a patient association). The term is four years with a possibility for one extension.

Administratively REK is organized under the medical faculties at the four large universities in Norway. REK North under the University of Tromsø, REK Mid under the University of Trondheim, REK West under the University of Bergen, and REK South-East under the University of Oslo. Decisions by REK can be appealed to NEM.

Networking between RECs:
The National Committee for Medical Research Ethics (NEM). NEM is an advisory and appeal body for the seven regional committees for medical and health research ethics (REK). NEM has developed a Research Ethics Library in cooperation with the universities in Norway. It is meant as an educational resource for research institutions as well as for members of research ethics committees.

REK is organized through a common national web portal for electronic submission of projects for review. The portal distributes projects evenly between the 7 REC, though it follows a main rule assigning projects to the region of origin. The portal offers common application forms and standard operating procedures. It also has functions for search and for archive. REK organizes one national conference per year for all members of all committees for networking purposes and for addressing issues of common interest. REK also organizes coordination meetings twice a year between the chairs of the committees and respective secretariats.

The secretariates of the REK are organized in a forum consisting of the heads of the secretariates.

REC South East
Geographical region:
Vestfold, Buskerud, Telemark, Aust-Agder, Vest-Agder, Akershus, Østfold, Hedmark, Oppland og Oslo

Postal address: Postboks 1130, Blindern, 0318 Oslo
Office address: Gullhaugveien 1-3, 0484 Oslo

General enquiries:
Telephone: 22 84 55 11

Technical support:
Førstekonsulent Emil Lahlum 22845523

Contact Information of the 4 Committees within REC South East

REC South East A
Komitesekretær Anette Solli Karlsen 22845522
Seniorrådgiver Vivi Opdal 22845526
Førstekonsulent Anne S. Kavli 22845512

REC South East B
Komitésekretær Hege Holde Andersson 22845514
Seniorrådgiver Jakob Elster 22845530
Førstekonsulent Harsha Gajjar Mikkelsen 22845513

REC South East C
seniorrådgiver Tor Even Svanes 22845521
Rådgiver Claus Henning Thorsen 22845515
førstekonsulent Marianne Eidem 22845531
Førstekonsulent Henriette Snilsberg Permisjon

REC South East D
Rådgiver Gjøril Bergva 22845529
Rådgiver Silje U. Lauvrak 22845520
Førstekonsulent Emil Lahlum 22845523

Management REC South East
Avdelingsdirektør Knut W. Ruyter 22845518
Nestleder Øyvind Grønlie Olsen 22845522

REC West
Geographical region:
Rogaland, Hordaland and Sogn og Fjordane

Postal address:Universitetet i Bergen, Det medisinske fakultet, Postboks 7804, 5020 Bergen
Office address: Haukeland Universitetssykehus, Sentralblokken, 2.etg, Rom 4617

Telephone: 55 97 50 00 (switchboard at Haukeland University Hospital)

Staff Contact information (advice)
rådgiver Arne Salbu 55978498
sekretariatsleder Øyvind Straume 55978496
rådgiver Camilla Gjerstad 55978499
permisjon Anne Berit Kolmannskog

REC Central
Geographical region:
Møre og Romsdal, Sør-Trøndelag, Nord-Trøndelag

Postal address:Det medisinske fakultet, Medisinsk teknisk forskningssenter, 7489 Trondheim.
Office address:Bygg for samfunnsmedisin (5 etg), Håkon Jarlsgt. 11, St. Olavs Hospital


Staff Contact information (advice)
Sekretariatsleder Hilde Eikemo (permisjon til 1. oktober 2014) 73597508
Sekretariatsleder Tone Natland Fagerhaug 73597506
Rådgiver Linda Tømmerdal Roten 73597508
Rådgiver Øystein Lundestad 73597507

REC North
Geographical region:
Nordland, Troms og Finnmark

Postal address:MH-bygget, Universitetet i Tromsø, 9037 Tromsø
Office address:MH-bygget, 10. floor, Breivika, Universitetet i Tromsø

Telephone: 77 64 61 40

Staff Contact information (advice)
seniorkonsulent Monika Rydland Gaare 77620756
rådgiver Veronica Sørensen 77620758
seniorrådgiver Øyvind Strømseth 77620753
sekretariatsleder May Britt Rossvoll 77620757