Overall acceptance of the ethical approach
Based on our experiences within INCLUSO we see several (sometimes partial) solutions depending on the size, the national legislation and the funding agency's policy for your project.
- Smaller scale projects within established organizations can often operate according to the procedures agreed by their organization. Quite often the organizations are working with youngsters for a very long time.
Furthermore they are often created and managed by a board of directors that is constituted of highly respectable persons from society; some of them are (or were initially) linked to religious organisations, others are closely followed up by their local government. In other words, these organisations have a long tradition of finding the delicate balance between consulting, helping and respecting the privacy and ethical rights of their clients (and generally also their parents or tutors).
- In some countries it is possible to obtain an ethical approval document from an established national organization. From our Incluso experience however this type of national organization does not exist in many countries or it is only concerned with medical situations. If your organization is closely collaborating with a university, an ethical approval from a University based ethical committee might be possible.
- If your funding is coming (even partially) from the European Commission, you will be forced to obtain an ethical approval from a national committee. E.g. the contracts of most Framework 7 research projects contain a special clause 7.4 stating:
The beneficiary(ies) shall provide the Commission with a written confirmation that it has received (a)favourable opinion(s) of the relevant ethics committee(s) and, if applicable, the regulatory approval(s) of the competent national or local authority(ies) in the country in which the research is to be carried out before beginning any Commission approved research requiring such opinions or approvals. The copy of the official approval from the relevant national or local ethics committees must also be provided to the Commission.
As mentioned before, the efforts of obtaining such "favourable opinions" is extremely time consuming in most countries and the resultant delays should not be underestimated .