Research related to the Education Division

On this page, you will find instructions on how to proceed with research permit matters if your research project or thesis concerns the units, data, clients or personnel of the City of Helsinki’s Education Division.

Applying for a research permit from the Education Division

The Education Division processes research permits regarding the units or data of the Division’s units. In addition to administration, the Education Division has four service segments: early childhood education and pre-primary education, basic education, upper secondary education and vocational education and liberal adult education as well as services in Swedish.

The Education Division requires a permit for all research projects, theses and reports that gather or process data regarding the Division’s clients, pupils, students or personnel, regardless of the method used to obtain the data.

A permit is also required for functional research projects and development projects that generate a research report. Anonymous data collection (e.g. surveys) also require a research permit.

Staff members of the Division must also apply for a permit if they do not conduct research as part of their work duties, but as part of the their studies, for example.

A research permit may be denied on the following grounds:

  • the application is incomplete and the missing information has not been received
  • the research setting is ethically questionable
  • it is a market research or commercial study, and its objectives do not support the development of the operations of the Education Division
  • the subject has recently been researched using the same target group
  • the Division cannot provide the necessary data, or obtaining it would require an unreasonable amount of work from the personnel

If a research permit is not granted, the applicant will receive grounds for the negative decision as well as instructions for appeal.

No research permit is required in the case of outsourced or commissioned studies, for which the conditions for the collection and use of the research material are specified in a cooperation contract. The same applies when the material needed for the research is publicly and openly accessible, and its collection requires no work from City staff.

If a staff member of the Division conducts the research as part of the member’s work duties and no public report is made regarding the research.

Contact the day-care centre, school or educational institution where you intend to conduct the research in advance. Tentatively agree with the director/head teacher on conducting the research.

Plan applying for a research permit so that you can gather the research data during the working hours of the schools and educational institutions as well early childhood education and pre-primary education. If you are gathering data during the autumn term, submit the research application by the end of September. If you are gathering data during the spring term, submit the application by the end of February.

The Education Division receives approximately 300 applications for research permits every year. Applications will be processed in the order of arrival, usually within 2–4 weeks of arrival. If the research involves the use of personal data belonging to special categories of personal data (see Data Protection Act 1050/2018, Section 31(Link leads to external service), in Finish), the processing period may be longer. Gathering personal data requires a privacy notice. If data belonging to special categories of personal data are also gathered, a recommendation from the Ethics Committee is also required. An incomplete application or missing attachments will delay processing.

Protection of personal data in research

Recognise your responsibilities as a researcher. Observe the current legislation and the data protection guidelines for your organisation’s research as well as ensure that the research data is processed systematically and responsibly and that it is open. As the controller, you are responsible for the legality of the processing of the data containing personal data throughout the life cycle of the research.

In the research plan, precisely determine the research task and the purpose of processing personal data. Assess the need for personal data in conducting the research and minimise the amount of personal data to be processed. Consider the risks related to the processing from the subjects’ and other persons’ standpoints throughout the life cycle of the research data. Plan in advance the procedures for security breaches, for example.

If your research involves processing personal data, the consent of the subject or other legal basis is required for the processing. The processing of personal data in the research must be documented. The decisions made must be available for the authorities or the organisation’s data protection officer for a subsequent review.

Sometimes a data protection impact assessment is required to identify, assess and manage the risks associated with the processing of personal data. An impact assessment is compulsory, for example, when new technology is introduced, sensitive or otherwise very personal data are processed or personal data are processed extensively. The impact assessment must be carried out before the research is commenced.

Once you have tentatively agreed on your research with the day-care centre, school or educational institution where you wish to conduct it, apply for a research permit using the form, PDF. Submit the application along with its annexes electronically opens default mail program), or in paper form to the City of Helsinki Registry Office.

Research permit form, PDF

City of Helsinki, Registry Office, Education Division
P.O. Box 10, 00099 City of Helsinki
Visiting address: City Hall, Pohjoisesplanadi 11– 13, 00170 Helsinki opens default mail program)

You can send the PDF form to opens default mail program) as an attachment via the Secure Mail service to leads to external service).

To submit the application, you are asked to identify with online banking credentials, Mobile ID or an ID card with a chip. Identification will be your online signature on the application.

By signing the research permit application, you undertake

  • not to disclose any confidential data obtained in connection with the research
  • to familiarise yourself with the requirements set out in legislation
  • to be responsible for the legal processing of data.

All persons who process data contained in confidential documents or personal data files must give an undertaking either in the application form or in a separate annex with the same content. The undertaking must be submitted to the Registry Office in its original form.

The decision on the research permit is sent to the applicant by e-mail or post. Decisions without annexes are published on the city’s website.

Upon completion of the research, the researcher undertakes to send a link to the research report published online to the Division.

The decision on granting a research permit is made by the service segment director when the research focuses on one service segment in the Division. In research projects concerning multiple service segments, the executive director of the Division makes the decision on granting a research permit. 

The research permit decision determines, among other things, the conditions for the storage, protection and disposal of data. The research permit can also determine limitations for the research project. In principle, the staff of the Division do not participate in the research project.

Compulsory annexes to the research permit application

  • A research plan that has been approved by the research institution and that clearly describes the purpose of the research, how data is gathered, the research methods, the secure storage of data during the research as well as the secure disposal or archiving of data after the research has concluded. If the text part of the research plan exceeds 10 pages, a summary must be attached to it.
  • Ethical reflection or statement from the Ethics Committee
    The reflection of the ethical aspects of the research process includes, among other things, the evaluation of the research topic, research methods as well as the ethical questions of the analysis and reporting of the research data.
  • Model of a consent document if the processing of personal data in the research is subject to consent. Voluntary consent is requested from the subjects in writing prior to commencing the research project and it must be in accordance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation and the national data protection legislation. The consent document must be dated and signed by the person giving consent and the recipient. A copy of the document must be given to the person giving consent. The consent document must indicate the following:Brief description of the research project and its purpose
    • How the subject is selected for the project
    • How the subject’s contact information is obtained
    • Participation in the project is voluntary
    • What data is collected from the subjects
    • Who processes the data
    • Protection of the subject’s data
    • Whether data are also collected from other sources
    • Whether the data are disclosed outside the research group
    • Whether data are transferred to a third country
    • Duration of the research project
    • How the results are reported and published
    • What happens to the research register after the research project
  • Bulletin, which must be in plain language and understandable to the target group and indicate the following: 
    • Brief description of the research project and its purpose
    • Participation in the project is voluntary: The subjects’ right to refuse, interrupt their participation or withdraw their consent at any point of the research project without this having a harmful impact on the subject or the access to services. The subject must also be aware of where to report interruptions or withdrawals.
    • How the results are reported and published
    • Protection of the subject’s data and ensuring that the data are processed and presented at every stage in such a way that individual data are not disclosed 
  • Report on the processing of personal data and data security in the research project 
    • The processing of personal data in the research project must be documented and the subjects must be informed (e.g. privacy statement)
    • The decisions made must be available for the authorities or the organisation’s data protection officer for a subsequent review. 
  • Material related to gathering data (e.g. survey form, interview frame, observation form, listing of data to be collected in the research project)

Impact of the subjects’ age on consent: 

Guardians of children and young people under the age of 15 are asked for consent to participate in a research project taking place at a day-care centre or school. It is not possible to formulate the consent request in such a way that the guardian only has the possibility of refusing the participation of the child. If the guardian does not give consent, the child in question cannot participate in the research project.

Young people between the ages of 15 and 17 can participate in the research project conducted at their school or educational institution with their consent, but their guardians must be informed of this in advance. If necessary, material related to the consent document and gathering other data must also be available in other languages in addition to Finnish or Swedish. 

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City of Helsinki Register Office

Visiting address:
Pohjoisesplanadi 11–13, 00170 Helsinki
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