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About NEM

Among other things, NEM addresses complaints under the Health Research Act on decisions in Regional Committees for Medical and Health Research Ethics (REK).


NEM was set up in 1990 by the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research. Until then ethical questions concerning medical research had been evaluated by the Medical Research Council’s ethics committee. NEM was a continuation of this committee.

Appointment and composition

The Committee has 12 members with different professional backgrounds. Traditionally, the committee has been chaired by a physician. Pursuant to its charter the Committee, in addition to having medical competence, shall include members with competence in ethics and law and psychology and genetics should also be represented. The Committee also has lay representatives. These have often been persons with experience from politics or the media.

The members of the Committee are appointed by the Ministry of Education and Research upon recommendation from the Research Council of Norway. They are appointed for terms of four years and no member may sit on the Committee for more than two terms. The Committee meets seven times a year.


The Committee has a permanent director of its Secretariat, who attends to the day-to-day business of the Committee. Norway’s three national research ethics committees also have a common secretariat in the centre of Oslo, with shared PR and administrative functions. The committees share offices with The Norwegian Board of Technology. 


You may find NEM's guidelines here.

All our publications can be found here

Annual Report

Starting 2018, each committee will prepare an annual report on their own activity. Here are NEM's Annual Reports (Norwegian only).


NEM is an advisory and coordinating body for the seven regional committees for medical and health research ethics (REK). In addition, NEM is the appeal body for projects handled by REK.

REK must pre-approve the following:

  • Medical and health research projects
  • General research biobanks
  • Exemption from confidentiality for other types of research

For more information on this, go to REK's website.

The regional committees consider all research projects within their field, while NEM consider more fundamental questions. Most of NEM's statements since 1997 are available online (mainly in Norwegian). Cooperation between NEM and the regional committees is ensured by meetings between the chair and the secretary from all the committees twice a year.

In addition, all committee members from both NEM and the regional committees will meet for a two-day meeting, the Storfelles-meeting, in the autumn for professional replenishment and discussion.

In addition to statements, reports and guidelines, the committee also organizes open debate meetings on various research ethics topics.