The Association of Medical Ethics Committees (AKEK) is the association of public ethics committees that review biomedical research projects in Germany according to scientific, ethical and legal criteria. Our main goal is to support the medical ethics committees in the exercise of their activities. In doing so, we advocate the indispensable ethical standards in research with human subjects, the rights and protection of study participants, and the freedom of research.
The AKEK was founded in 1983 as a non-profit association with the aim of facilitating nationwide cooperation and exchange within the federal system of public ethics committees. Today, 52 ethics committees formed according to state law belong to it as members.
Forum for exchange and harmonization
The experience of our members in the review of medical research projects forms the valuable basis for any activity of the Association. The exchange on principles of ethics consultation but also on challenges and controversial topics in practice is therefore extremely central. On this basis, the working group continuously develops model texts and recommendations that serve to standardize the formal review procedures without affecting the independence of the individual ethics committee. In addition, the Association regularly offers further training for members and staff of the ethics committees.
Promotion of medical science
Biomedical research is subject to constant change as a result of new methods and technologies and, in turn, is the basis for progress in modern medicine. The Association accompanies and promotes this change by discussing the current problems of research at its scientific conferences and making them accessible to the (specialist) public in publications. The focus is on questions of research ethics and their implementation in everyday research practice as well as aspects of the scientific quality of research. In addition, the research prize of the Association is awarded once a year to scientists who make a special scientific contribution to answering questions of research ethics.
Contact for researchers and patients
The Associations supports researchers with basic questions on the application of research projects to the ethics committees by providing extensive information, among other things, on this website. It is available as a direct contact for researchers, but also for sponsors and contract research organizations in Germany and abroad. Together with the German Medical Association, the working group develops curricula for physicians that teach the requirements for research on drugs and medical devices. In addition, we maintain contact with various patient representatives in order to include the perspective of patients in clinical studies.
Political positioning in Germany and Europe
The Association represents the ethics committees in public discourse. Thus, the AKEK is the contact for authorities and ministries, takes a position on legislative procedures that affect the interests of study participants and ethics committees, and is intensively involved at the European level.
The members of the Association are the ethics committees to review medical research projects. As the highest decision-making body, the general assembly decides on the fundamental positions of the AKEK. From among the members, the voting representatives elect the board and appoint working groups. The board and the working groups contribute significantly to the discussion of central problems in the work of the ethics committees. Further information can be found in the statutes and in the membership fee regulations of the association.