The committees have 14 members each. They meet approximately once per month. To assure that all aspects are addressed, each committee is divided into several evaluation panels to assure that the applications are correct, comprehensible, and complete.
“We thoroughly review each case, regardless of whether it is simple or complex. If anything is unclear, we turn to the applicant and request additional information", says Mats Sjöquist, scientific representative on the Ethical Committee on Animal Experiments in Uppsala.
By the time that the applications are placed on the committee´s meeting agenda, most of the uncertainties have been clarified. In part, this explains why so few applications are rejected. The committee's decision is binding. Anyone defying the decision violates the law and is at risk for a fine or imprisonment.
During the time that Mats Sjöquist has worked with ethical issues concerning animal research he has observed an increase in the awareness and involvement of researchers.
“We see increasingly more researchers who are good at planning research projects and writing applications that can be approved quickly. Especially those who have submitted several applications realise that ultimately it takes much less effort if they are thorough from the start."
Text: Olle Bergman