About the National Commission for Research Ethics on Human Remains

The National Committee for Research Ethics on Human Remains (Human Remains Committee) was set up 2008 by the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research after proposals from the National Committee for Medical and Health Research Ethics (NEM) and the University of Oslo.

About the committee

The committee consists of ten members: two lay representatives and members with different professional backgrounds.

The committee evaluates the ethical aspects of research where the source material consists of human remains which are in public museums and collections, or which will be found in future archeological and other surveys (i.e. complete skeletons, parts of skeletons, and other human remains). These are often human bones found in archeological excavations, but may also include human remains which have never been in the ground (for example parts of bodies used in artifacts, bodies contained in coffins and sarcophagi).

Scientists intending to use human remains in their research are advised to present their projects to the committee for ethical evaluation by the committee.

The committee bases its ethical decisions on various ethical principles, including those adhered to by national and international bodies. In addition, the committee takes into consideration existing legislation, like the Cultural Heritage Act (Kulturminneloven), the Burial Act (Gravferdsloven), and the international conventions Norway has endorsed, like the Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological heritage of Europe (Malta Convention). The committee also works on its own guidelines.

Members are appointed by The National Committee for Medical and Health Research Ethics (NEM), The National Committee for Research Ethics in Science and Technology (NENT) and The National Committee for Research Ethics in the Social Sciences and the Humanities (NESH). They also give the committee its mandate.

Members 2021-2025

Sean D. Denham (Chair), Osteologist, Museum of Archaeology, UiS
Siri Forsmo, member NEM, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, NTNU
Kjetil Fretheim, Pro-rector, professor, MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society 
Elin Rose Myrvoll, Head of Department, archaeologist, The Fram Centre
Jens Rytter, senior advisor, Riksantikvaren
Therese Robertsen Almaas, legal advisor, Kultur- og idrettsbygg Oslo KF
Asgeir Svestad, Associate Professor, UiT
Torgeir Sørensen, Associate Professor, VID
Sølvi Vik, Building protection and collection management, Bymuseet i Bergen
Lene Os Johannessen (Secretary)