Objectives of the Ethical Governance System
- To implement a new formal organisational structure within the management structure of the HEFRC in order to manage the R&I activities from an ethical perspective
- To align the management of the HERFRC with best practices on RRI systems that will serve to the promotion of similar ethical governance systems in European countries.
- To implement a number of core ethical orientations and/or guiding principles that the HEFRCs themselves may recognise, incorporate and promote, so that R&I actors can carry out their activity in line with the ethical perspective of RRI.
- To implement advice structures to all the stakeholders involved in R&I activities in the HEFRC from the highest ethical standards about the paths that they can undertake.
- To help raise the ethical standard of the science infrastructure across Europe.
- To guarantee ethics or fairness in the activity of Research and Innovation, as well as an open and inclusive dialogue with all identified stakeholders where the public engagement with citizens and Civil Society Organisations and citizens’ associations in science will be pursued and always in line with the SDGs. A way to promote science with and for society.
Why embrace an Ethical Governance System?
- Institutionalization of ethical reflexivity on the processes of R&I. This will make it possible to recognize the expectations of the interlocutors and promote an internal reflection on them, so as to discern which of the expectations are legitimate and should be incorporated into the R&I processes.
- Support to professionals through an ethical toolkit and an ethical structure to R&I that define a number of core ethical orientations and/or guiding principles that the HEFRCs themselves may recognise, incorporate and promote, so that R&I actors can carry out their activity in line with the RRI.
- Promote RRI among the actors of R&I processes. A R&I that enhances its ethical perspective in accordance with the legitimate expectations of its stakeholders involves making the concept of RRI known and asking all actors to be involved in achieving it.
- Encourage a R&I that tackle with an active perspective to integrity research, gender equality, public engagement and open access. That will mean an impact on the kind of research and innovation that society will receive from the HEFRCs.
- Guarantee correctness or fairness in the activity of Research and Innovation, as well as an open and inclusive dialogue with all identified stakeholders where the public engagement with citizens and Civil Society Organisations and citizens’ associations in science will be pursued and always in line with the SDGs.
- Reduce internal and external coordination costs that shall have a financial impact in HEFRCs
Elements of the Ethical Governance System
The toolbox for the implementation of Ethna Office is under development.
The functions of each of these instruments are specified to grounding RRI practices:
Ethna Office: is the management structure of the R&I processes where the guidelines and policies for an RRI are defined in order to allocate funds and projects under the best standards of RRI, for this it has the following four tools:
- Ethical code: It is the formal document where we find an explicit declaration of the values that should orient the conduct of the actors involved in the R&I process, the promotion of good practices and indicators about the organisation’s nature and personality. In the case of the activity of RRI it is necessary that the ethical code shows the best practices in the field of RRI related with: gender equality, open access, public engagement and integrity research.
- Ethics committee: It is a space for participation and dialogue among the different interest groups in an organisation. In the case of R&I activities, the committee is in charge of monitoring and controlling the ethics and compliance program included in the ethical code. This committee has the following three functions: advising on the subjects regarding the interpretation and application of an ethical code; resolving notifications concerning suggestions, alerts, and complaints that are made through an ethics hotline; promoting the informing of employees and managers on the ethics and compliance program and their inclusion in its formation. Trust in the committee will depend on the trust that its members can generate and it is relevant that all the R&I views are presented. This ethics committee should have gender parity of representation and must ensure that the best standards demanded by the actors of the R&I activities are considered.
- Ethical hotline on R&I: It is a communication channel to express suggestions, alerts and complaints. In any format (i.e., postal mail, electronic mail, web, etc.), it is a matter of communicating a lack of compliance with an ethical code and suggestions for its improvement. Of course, communication should always be confidential, but never anonymous. Protocols that are necessary to ensure confidentiality and avoid all possible reprisals should be established and the best practices in RRI could be advised and analysed and cut the bad practices.
- Progress indicators to report on RRI: Monitoring and controlling the fulfilment of the ethical code. These reports provide information on the impacts that are generated by an organisation in this case through the R&I activities considering its economic, social and environmental impact. Transparency may be justified by these reports that provide information regarding management policies and strategies and also results in the form of indicators. However, these reports do not create trust in ethics and compliance programs, and they do not generate trust overall. They must be linked to the code of ethics and report on their compliance with measurable and comparable indicators over time.