Ethical Issues

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All research activities in the PLANT FELLOWS programme should respect fundamental ethical principles, including those reflected in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and all projects have to follow both the Ethical Guidelines to undertake research in FP7 and the respective national regulations concerning ethical issues in research.

All applicants are requested to explain in their research proposals the ethical rules they employ on research projects when applying for their PLANT FELLOWS fellowship. Thus a completed ethical issues table has to be an integral part of every application (included in the template for the research proposal).

See the preview of the ethical issues table here.

Moreover, when preparing the research proposal, the applicant shall take the following issues into account:

Use of Non-Human Genetic Resources: PLANT FELLOWS recommends that the guidelines of the “Access and Benefit Sharing – Good Practice for Academic Research on Genetic Resources" have to be followed. That means that all research activities that use biological material from abroad have to comply with the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) regulations as set out in the Converntion on Biological Diversity and its Nagoya Protocol.

Specific Access and Benefit-Sharing regulations for 64 of the most important crops are addressed in the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

The applicant has to present a plan and the prospective timing for acquiring the respective permits/documents within the ethical section of the research proposal.

 

International Collaborations and Authorships: For international collaborations, it is recommended that all parties involved agree on common guiding principles, procedures etc. A good example is “The Montreal Statement on Research Integrity in Cross-Boundary Research Collaborations” (http://wcri2013.org/Montreal_Statement_e.shtml), although currently only available as a draft. Other similar documents could be used, too.

Further on, it is recommended to agree on authorship before starting the project in written and signatures of all parties (if needed, during the course of the project, such a signed agreement can be changed).

 

Access and Benefit-Sharing, ABS:

Press Release of the Swiss Federal Council: Genetic resources - Ratification of the Nagoya-Protocoll in consultation

Swiss Academy of Sciences: Website on ABS and non-commercial academic research

Sample ABS Agreement for Non-Commercial Research (2010) Biber-Klemm S, Martinez SI, Jacob A, Jetvic A. Swiss Academy of Sciences (ed), Bern, Switzerland.

 
 

If a research proposal raises ethical issues, the applicant has to present a plan and the prospective timing for acquiring the respective permits/documents within the ethical section of the research proposal.

 

Please note, all research performed that concerns ethical aspects needs an ethical approval by the PLANT FELLOWS selection committee. For this reason, PLANT FELLOWS carries out an ethical review on research proposals when appropriate.

 

For further information on ethical issues in European research projects, please enquire the publication from the European Commission: "Ethics for Researcher".