EGE - Opinion 24

The EU Charter of Researchers

AgreenSkills is compliant with ethical principles

Ethics in the implementation of research projects

Ethics Commission

Mission of the Ethics Commission

Ethics in the implementation of AgreenSkills programme


Ethics in the implementation of research projects

The wide scope of topics and disciplines covered by AgreenSkills may lead to the submission of research proposals raising ethical issues. Therefore, the research projects proposed in the framework of AgreenSkills must comply with ethical procedures and regulations of the European Commission which include adherence to:

Ethics Commission

The AgreenSkills governance includes an Ethics Commission composed of the following ethics experts:

  • Bernadette Bensaude Vincent, CETCOPRA Université Paris 1, Paris, France: Bernadette Bensaude Vincent was trained in philosophy and history of science. She has worked on the history of chemistry, nanotechnology and synthetic biology. She describes herself more as an epistemologist than an ethicist as she tries to understand how epistemic values interact with other values (social, moral, economic). Her work includes participant research (philosophie de terrain), and she is also interested in science popularization and science and public opinion.
  • Magda Giordano, Ph.D., Investigador Titular, Instituto de Neurobiología-UNAM , Juriquilla, Qro. Mexico: Magda Giordano was trained in experimental psychology, and her research focuses on damage and repair in the central nervous system; currently she is interested in studying the influence of culture on brain function. She has experience in procedural ethics since she helped to set up and later ran the local Committee on Bioethics at her research institute. She is interested in the education of ethics in the sciences.
  • Prof. Matthias Kaiser, Director of the Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities , University of Bergen, Norway: Trained in mathematics, sociology and philosophy, Dr. Kaiser is an expert in ethics, philosophy of science, scientific misconduct, technology assessment, and risk evaluation. He worked for many years as Director of the National Committee for Research Ethics in Science and Technology (NENT) of Norway, and is currently president of the European Society of Agricultural and Food Ethics (EurSafe).
  • Prof. Darryl Macer, Provost, American University of Sovereign Nations Arizona, USA; Director, Eubios Ethics Institute , New Zealand, Japan and Thailand: Prof. Macer is a chemist and biochemist, he obtained a degree in molecular biology and wrote a parallel thesis in bioethics. He has founded centers for the study of ethics, written books, and reviews on the issues of bioethics and science. He has been involved in teaching ethics in the sciences and engineering, and in the translation of bioethics courses and books to Asian cultures.
  • Prof. Marie-Hélène Parizeau, Professeur titulaire, Faculté de philosophie, Université Laval, Quebec, Canada: Marie-Hélène Parizeau was educated in biology and philosophy, her teaching and research focuses on biomedical ethics and environmental ethics, genetics and bio banking. She is interested in studying the interaction of society with science and technology, sustainable development, cultural diversity and identity, and the relation between ethics and politics.

During the selection procedure the Ethics Commission makes sure that ethical issues are addressed properly in the selected fellows' research projects. Since in France, research-related ethical issues are defined and handled at the local level, it is the responsibility of hosting laboratories to ensure that the fellow’s research project is implemented according to these ethical rules.

Mission of the AgreenSkills Ethics Commission

Ethics is an essential component of good science. Ethics is not an external constraint, rather it promotes research freedom and helps improve the quality of knowledge in relation to societal concerns, values and goals.  Ethics makes science better, also in terms of reliability, relevance and sustainability.

In our view, ethics includes integrity, compliance with international regulations about animal welfare and human rights, as well as reflection about the goals of science. We believe that science is not an end in itself, and that a sole focus on truth is an ethical choice, which leaves out other important and desirable functions of science. In fact, there are numerous non-epistemic values embedded in scientific practices, agendas and results which are crucial for a satisfactory science-society interaction.

The AgreenSkills mobility programme focuses on issues of global agricultural performance and innovation, global environmental change, food security, human nutrition and health, and animal welfare. Therefore, we consider it important to promote the reflection about how nature, artefacts, research objects, life, and welfare are perceived, and ought to be protected. Our goal is to incorporate ethical reflection in the research itself, and thus to make science better.

Ethics in the implementation of AgreenSkills programme

The AgreenSkills programme follows an equal opportunity policy with respect to full gender parity, equal geographical distribution and balance in topics. It also ensures respect for equality of treatment among applicants.

AgreenSkills is in full compliance with the General Principles and Requirements applicable to employers in the European Charter for Researchers and in the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers . AgreenSkills also intends to attract promising and confirmed talents while avoiding human capital flight from developing countries.

AgreenSkills also ensures that:

  • Training on ethical issues is a criterion to evaluate the hosting conditions;
  • Applicants will systematically fill and commit to the ethical issues table;
  • Ethical issues are to be considered in the post-fellowship evaluation of the project;
  • A course of ethical issues is organized in collaboration with the European Society for Agriculture and Food Ethics  .

European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity