In 1990, simultaneously with the establishment of a National Committee for Medical Research Ethics (NEM) and a National Committee for the Social Sciences and the Humanities (NESH), a third committee was set up to work on research ethics in science and technology, including agriculture and fisheries.
The National Committee for Research Ethics in Science and Technology (NENT) receives its charter, which has much the same wording as those of the other committees, from the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research. The Committee has an interdisciplinary composition and also has lay representatives.
During its first few years, NENT concentrated its efforts on technology assessment, a task that was eventually taken over by the Norwegian Board of Technology, established in 1999. The committee provides counsels and recommendations concerning concrete research projects. In addition, the committee organizes seminars and publishes reports and books on research ethics issues.
The committee has developed ethical guidelines for science and technology, first published by the committee in 2008, and revised in 2015. The guidelines include a proposal for a scientific oath which endorses the view that researchers have a responsibility for the societal consequences of their research. In 2009, the committee launched the report Risk and Uncertainty, which debates the concepts "risk" and "uncertainty". The background for the report was the Guidelines for research ethics in science and technology. The guidelines refer to the concepts of risk, uncertainty and the precautionary principle. Earlier, the committee has also worked on the precautionary principle, and published the report, Føre-var prinsippet: Mellom forskning og politikk (The Precautionary Principle between Research and Politics).
In 2018, the committee published separate guidelines for the use of animals in research:
Terms of reference for the National Committee for Research Ethics in Science and Technology
As laid down by the Ministry of Education and Research on the 25th of June 2007. In addition, The act on the organization of research ethical work (The Research Ethics Act – Forskningsetikkloven) applies, with appurtenant provisions.
The National Committee for Research Ethics in Science and Technology (NENT) is an independent body which, based on values shared by the public, shall act as a national watch-post, inform and advise upon research ethics within the relevant fields of research.
II Area of Responsibility
The area of responsibility for the National Committee for Research Ethics in Science and Technology is research ethics within science and technology, industrial, agricultural and fisheries research, including those areas of biotechnology and gene technology not covered by medicine.
The Committee shall be responsible for the prevention of scientific misconduct within its field.
- The Committee shall keep itself informed concerning current and potentially relevant questions of research ethics within its area of responsibility.
- The Committee shall coordinate and provide advice on research ethics for the various committees within its area of responsibility.
- The Committee shall inform researchers, the administration, and the public about current and potentially relevant questions of research ethics within its area of responsibility.
- The Committee shall submit recommendations and reports and develop draft guidelines for research ethics within its area of responsibility. The Committee shall also make recommendations concerning specific cases presented to it.
- The Committee shall report on its activity at least once a year at an open meeting and foster informed public debate about questions of research ethics within its area of responsibility in whatever ways it deems suitable.
- The Committee shall keep other national and international committees on research ethics informed about its activities and, through cooperation with such committees, work to establish a basis for principles of research ethics which are independent of the restrictions of the research areas.
Øyvind Mikkelsen (chair)
Lise Øvreås (vice chair)
Ole Andreas Engen
Hanne Pernille Gulbrandsen
Kjellrun Hiis Hauge
Steinar Heldal (lay representative)
Cecilie Marie Mejdell
Tone Druglitrø (co-opted)
Ketil Skogen (co-opted)