Preliminary ethical review of research

The task of the Research Ethics Committee of Kela is to conduct, upon request, an ethical review of research projects dealing with human sciences and to issue statements concerning human-related register, survey and interview research that relies on individually identifiable data provided by Kela. The Research Ethics Committee does not review research projects that fall within the scope of the Medical Research Act (488/1999 Laki lääketieteellisestä tutkimuksesta).

Kela’s research organisation is committed to compliance with the Ethical principles of research in the humanities and social and behavioural sciences and proposals for ethical reviews as issued by the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity (TENK) appointed by the Ministry of Education and Culture. Kela’s Research Ethics Committee holds no legal position. The tasks of the Committee do not include the granting of official approvals to carry out research projects.

When is it necessary to apply for a statement from Kela’s Research Ethics Committee?

A researcher must independently assess the need for a preliminary ethics review of the research and request, if necessary, a statement from the Ethics Committee. The researcher can also request a statement from the Ethics Committee when so required by a research funding agency or co-operative partner, or if the results of the research are to be published in a scientific journal that requires a preliminary ethical review. The Committee can also deal with any particular ethical issues that arise during the research process.

A statement on research is requested from Kela’s Research Ethics Committee, for instance, in the following cases:

  • Kela is providing individually identifiable data for research purposes, for examples, for an interview study.
  • A sample population for a questionnaire survey is being retrieved from Kela’s registers and the research involves the gathering of sensitive information.
  • Kela’s register data is being combined with data retrieved from other sources, such as questionnaire or interview material.

When is a statement from Kela’s Research Ethics Committee not necessary?

A statement from Kela’s Research Ethics Committee is generally not necessary in the following cases:

  • The study utilises unidentifiable register data and a statement is not required for any other reason.
  • The research project has been reviewed by another ethical body and no other party requires a separate review by Kela’s Research Ethics Committee.
  • The project is a development project that does not involve any research nor is an ethical review required for any other reason.
  • The matter concerns a final project or thesis for a qualification or degree and a statement is not required for any special reason, for instance, by Kela as a provider of data.

Committee members and meeting dates

Committee members in 2018

  • Senior Researcher Annamari Tuulio-Henriksson, Kela (Chair)
  • Senior Researcher Helena Siipi, University of Turku
  • Senior Researcher Riitta Seppänen-Järvelä, Kela
  • Researcher Anna-Kaisa Tuovinen, Kela
  • Researcher Miika Vuori, Kela
  • Researcher Miia Saarikallio-Torp, Kela
  • Researcher Päivi Tillman, Kela
  • Research Assistant Jenna Mäkinen, Kela (secretary)

Committee meetings in 2018

Meeting date Deadline for statement requests (by 4 p.m.)
30 Jan 16 Jan
27 Feb 13 Feb
27 Mar 13 Mar
24 Apr 10 Apr
29 May  15 May
19 Jun 5 Jun
29 Aug 14 Aug
24 Sep 10 Sep
23 Oct 9 Oct
20 Nov 6 Nov
18 Dec 4 Dec

Instructions for submitting statement requests

Detailed instructions on drafting and submitting a statement can be found from this link (PDF).

Submitting a statement request

The statement request and necessary appendices shall be sent as a single PDF file via e-mail no later than two weeks before the meeting of the Committee to: kela.tutkimuseettinen.tmk(at)
The Committee can only process written statement requests that arrive prior to the stated deadline.

Instructions on resubmission of the statement request

Kela’s Research Ethics Committee may, if necessary, return an application and ask that it be resubmitted by the applicant once the corrections and additions required by Kela have been made. Once the applicant has modified the application documents, the Committee requests that all changes be stated clearly in the following manner:

  1. The applicant shall list, in a separate reply or cover letter, all changes that have been made point by point.
  2. The changes shall also be highlighted in the actual application and plan documents.