The Ethics Committee
Researchers carry special ethical responsibilities. Their work not only aims at expanding knowledge, but at serving the good of mankind. Their projects are intended to contribute to upholding human rights, protecting human dignity, the health, freedom and property of humans whilst protecting the environment as well. Moreover, special rules anchored in the covenants of so-called civil clauses apply to projects with obviously military purposes. Researchers "... use their knowledge, their experience and their abilities to detect, judge and assess the relevant risks". This is the wording from the "Guidelines for Transparency in Research", a joint position paper published in 2015 in German by the State University Conference of Lower Saxony and the Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture.
Increasingly often, third-party funding organisations like the German Research Foundation (DFG) are also requiring that a statement concerning research ethical issues be included in grant applications. For these reasons, the Ethics Committee of the University of Göttingen was constituted in November 2015 to evaluate projects at the request of the scientist and to determine whether it upholds the principles of the Higher Education Act of Lower Saxony (NHG) and the constitutionally protected right of academic freedom.
Likewise, the Ethics Committee can be commissioned to advise the Presidential Board and the Senate and, on its own initiative, deal with questions of fundamental relevance. In this respect, it is independent and free from directives.
The administrative office of the Ethics Committee is nested in the Research Department.