Ethical Guidelines for International Collaboration

Karolinska Institutet’s ethical guidelines for international collaborations refer and relate to a number of internal and external policy documents, rules, guidelines and other information concerning ethical issues.

The University’s role and mandate, among other things, is to provide people with tools for a critical, fact-based approach, analysis and knowledge acquisition. The University shall also promote sustainable development as well as an understanding of other countries and international relations.

Karolinska Institutet collaborates with higher education institutions with different backgrounds and prerequisites across the world. Through its underlying values, its role and its mandate it favours a development which promotes health and wellbeing, scientific development, democracy and human rights.

Ethical considerations

The guidelines apply in the event of collaboration between Karolinska Institutet and its foreign partners; both at the institutional and the individual level. Ethical considerations should be included in proposals for new international collaboration programmes and due regard shall be paid to these guidelines in the process. Ethical questions shall be monitored on a continuous basis within the framework of the ongoing collaboration.

International exchange

Participation in international exchanges is an opportunity offered to students and employees in accordance with an individual choice, on the basis of an implemented risk assessment. The individual always has the right to break off an exchange.

Discrimination, harassment and victimization

Karolinska Institutet, in all contexts, shall strive to counter discrimination of any kind. Karolinska Institutet does not accept the victimisation of employees, doctoral students or undergraduate students. Any such incidents must be reported to the management for investigation and follow-up in accordance with applicable guidelines.

Selection in the case of student, doctoral, and post doctoral exchanges shall be based on merit without regard to gender, gender identity or gender expression, ethnicity, religion or other belief, disability, sexual orientation or age.


Guidelines concerning discrimination, harassment and victimisation (pdf)
Equal opportunities at KI
Advice for students who feel harassed or discriminated against

Ethical review and documentation

An Ethical Review Board or an equivalent local body must approve the project before it is carried out (both animal and human research):

  • In human research, patients/human subjects must not be exposed to indignity or risks that may endanger health or life
  • Human research shall be based on a voluntary approach and informed consent
  • In a risk/benefit analysis, the benefit for patients and human subjects must exceed the risks
  • All research that takes place through international collaboration should also be able to be approved in an ethical review in Sweden

All research shall follow applicable guidelines for the planning, implementation and documentation of experimental as well as epidemiological and clinical research.

Guidelines for research
CODEX – rules and guidelines for research

Corrupt practices

Corrupt practices must not occur in any activities in which Karolinska Institutet participates. Where the suspicion of corruption arises then this must be reported to the management at Karolinska Institutet, in accordance with the applicable guidelines.

Anti-bribery guidelines

Risk assessment

A risk or safety assessment relating to both Karolinska Institutet as an institution as well as to participating students/employees shall always be conducted in the case of all forms of international collaboration. The risk assessment shall be implemented at an appropriate level within Karolinska Institutet. The risk assessment requires an active monitoring of the global environment.

Contact head of International Relations Office, Anna-Lena Paulsson, for information about risk assessment in international collaborations
If something happens