The main role of the National Research Ethics Committee (CNER) is to protect the people taking part in a research project (clinical trials, academic research, etc.).

Its role is therefore bound to the fields of research which involve human subjects.

No trial, study or clinical experimentation can be practiced on human beings for the development of biological or medical knowledge without the Health Minister's authorization, after requesting the opinions of the Health Directorate (Direction de la Santé) and National Research Ethics Committee (Comité National d'Ethique de Recherche) - See 18th March 2018 Hospital Law, art. 27.

For other broader questions raised in the field of bioethics, please refer to the National Consultative Ethics Committee for Health and Life Sciences (C.N.E.).

Generally, research projects involving human subjects also have to be notified to or authorized by the National Data Protection Commission.

The CNER is a European Network of Research Ethics Committees (EUREC) member.