Ethics Advisor on Research Projects
According to EU law, freedom of research is considered as a fundamental right (see Article 13 Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union).
However, to achieve the objective of building the European Research Area (‘ERA’) it is necessary to face the risks arising from scientific research and innovation.
In order to reinforce the protection of fundamental rights within the ERA, Europe has to develop a system of shared values.
In particular, EU is identifying and elaborating ‘ethical fundamental principles’, that is to say, legal provisions as well as other kinds of rules (e.g. those established by case law, codes of practice, and opinions of ethics committees), whose scope is the protection of fundamental interests that may be affected by techno-science.
The EU takes into consideration the need to respect ethical rules, especially within the funding of the Framework Programmes, such as the present Horizon 2020.
According to the documents of the European Commission, the consortium of beneficiaries of a research programme should be supported by experts to ensure that it complies appropriately with ethical requirements.
In particular, the consortium is requested to appoint one or more ‘ethics advisors’.
The role of an ethics advisor is to provide the partnership as a whole, its bodies (steering committees, general assembly, etc.) and each beneficiary, with advice on specific issues or general opinions about the ethical aspects of the research activities, including the regulations adopted by the body of the consortium.
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