Research involving human beings

SAMS » Ethics » Topics A–Z » Research involving human beings

To enable advances in medicine, research involving human beings is essential. This calls for a clearly defined legal and ethical framework. The SAMS addresses questions arising in research ethics and provides guidance for practitioners.

SAMS manual «Research with human subjects»

The SAMS manual «Research with human subjects» (2015) gives researchers and members of research ethics committees a clear overview of the complex regulatory framework defined by the Human Research Act (HRA). At the same time, it aims to convey the basic ethical attitude which is required if researchers are to be perceived as trustworthy by potential research participants, policymakers and the public.


Manual: Research with human subjects (2015)


On the specific question of informed consent in research participants, the SAMS issued a position paper in 2012:

Position paper: Research consent forms (2012) in French / German



Treatment in individual cases

Novel treatments are generally evaluated scientifically in research projects. However, a novel treatment may also be employed – independently of the conduct of a research project – on the basis of a treatment decision in an individual patient. This is known as «experimental treatment in individual cases».


SAMS guidelines «Distinguishing between standard treatment and experimental treatment in individual cases» (2014, updated 2015)




lic. theol., dipl. biol. Sibylle Ackermann
Head Department Ethics
Tel. +41 31 306 92 73