Additional Information on Ethics related to undertaking ICT research in FP7
- Related legislation and regulation of the European Union
- ICT Ethics Resources
- Other Useful websites
- Contact Point
In recent years there has been an increase in the importance of ethical issues related to ICT research and technological developments.
The decision of the European Parliament and the Council concerning FP7 states that research activities supported by the Framework Programme should respect fundamental ethical principles, including those reflected in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and take into account opinions of the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE).
Article 15 of the FP7 Rules for Participation states that any proposal which contravenes fundamental ethical principles or which does not fulfil the conditions set out in the specific programme, the work programme or in the call for proposals shall not be selected and may be excluded from the evaluation, selection and award procedures at any time.
Applications for EU-funded research activities may, if appropriate, include specific tasks or a specific work package that explicitly addresses ethical concerns (in terms of the research, its conduct and outcomes) and outlines how ethical issues raised by the proposed research will be handled.
Ethical Guidelines for undertaking ICT researchers in FP7 can be found as an annex to the FP7 ICT research Guide for Applicants . This Guide for Applicants also contains an Ethical Issues Table (check-list)
The purpose of this ICT research ethics web resource is to provide additional information in support of the above ICT Ethical Guidelines with the aim of assisting applicants in identifying potential ethical issues arising from the proposed ICT research.
2. Related legislation and regulation of the European Union
The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union signed and proclaimed on 7 December 2000 [HTM]
The European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights sets out in a single text, for the first time in the European Union's history, the whole range of civil, political, economic and social rights of European citizens and all persons resident in the EU.
Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 [PDF]
This covers the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data
Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms as amended by Protocol No. 11 on 1 November 1998 [HTM]
The "European Convention on Human Rights" sets forth a number of fundamental rights and freedoms (right to life, prohibition of torture, prohibition of slavery and forced labour, right to liberty and security, right to a fair trial, no punishment without law, right to respect for private and family life, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association, right to marry, right to an effective remedy, prohibition of discrimination).
Directive 86/609/EEC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 1986 [PDF]
This covers the approximation of laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States regarding the protection of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes.
Directive 90/385/EEC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 1990 [PDF]
This relates to active implantable medical devices.
Decision No 1982/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006
This concerns the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities (2007-2013)
"Article 6 Ethical principles":
- All the research activities carried out under the Seventh Framework Programme shall be carried out in compliance with fundamental ethical principles.
- The following fields of research shall not be financed under this Framework Programme:
- research activity aiming at human cloning for reproductive purposes,
- research activity intended to modify the genetic heritage of human beings which could make such changes heritable,
- research activities intended to create human embryos solely for the purpose of research or for the purpose of stem cell procurement, including by means of somatic cell nuclear transfer.
- Research on human stem cells, both adult and embryonic, may be financed, depending both on the contents of the scientific proposal and the legal framework of the Member State(s) involved. Any application for financing for research on human embryonic stem cells shall include, as appropriate, details of licensing and control measures that will be taken by the competent authorities of the Member States as well as details of the ethical approval(s) that will be provided.
- As regards the derivation of human embryonic stem cells, institutions, organisations and researchers shall be subject to strict licensing and control in accordance with the legal framework of the Member State(s) involved. The fields of research set out above shall be reviewed for the second phase of this programme (2010-2013) in the light of scientific advances.” (L 412/5-6)
"(30) Research activities supported by the Seventh Framework Programme should respect fundamental ethical principles, including those reflected in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The opinions of the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies are and will be taken into account. Research activities should also take into account the Protocol on the Protection and Welfare of Animals and reduce the use of animals in research and testing, with a view ultimately to replacing animal use." (L 412/4 – paragraph 30)
"Security and society: mission orientated research which will focus on socio-economic analyses, scenario building and activities related to: cultural, social, political and economic dimensions of security, communication with society, the role of human values and policy making, psychology social environment of terrorism, citizens' perception of security, ethics, protection of privacy, societal foresight and systemic risk analysis. Research will also address technologies that better safeguard privacy and liberties, and will address vulnerabilities and new threats, as well as the management and impact assessment of possible consequences." (L 412/27 – Annex I Section 10: Security)
3. ICT Ethics Resources
The European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE) [HTM]
EGE is a neutral, independent, pluralist and multidisciplinary body, composed of fifteen experts appointed by the Commission for their expertise and personal qualities. The task of EGE is to examine ethical questions arising from science and new technologies and on this basis to issue Opinions to the European Commission in connection with the preparation and implementation of Community legislation or policies.
Opinion 10 of EGE (11 December 1997) [PDF]
The Ethical Aspects of the 5th Research Framework Programme.
Opinion 13 of EGE (30 July 1999) [PDF]
Ethical Issues of Healthcare in the Information Society.
Opinion 20 of EGE (16 March 2005) [HTM]
Ethical Aspects of ICT Implants in the Human Body.
Opinion 21 of EGE (17 January 2007) [PDF]
Opinion on the ethical aspects of nanomedicine.
ETHICOL is a regular column aimed at raising current issues of ethics and social responsibility in the research, development and application of information and communication technologies. It is currently published in the Journal of the Institute for the Management of Information Systems.
RFID Technology [PDF]
Results of the Public Consultation on Article 29 Working Document 105 on Data Protection Issues Related to RFID Technology Adopted on 28 September 2005. See also the " summary of the contributions received to the consultation"
Art.29 Data Protection Working Party [HTM]
The Working Party has been established by Article 29 of Directive 95/46/EC. It is the independent EU Advisory Body on Data Protection and Privacy. Its tasks are laid down in Article 30 of Directive 95/46/EC and in Article 14 of Directive 97/66/EC. It provides expert opinion from member state level to the Commission on questions of data protection.
“Focused European-level research and technological innovation is essential to master the properties of matter that can only be understood and controlled at the nano-scale and make possible the assembly of nano-elements that could lead to new functional, mechanical and other characteristics. New attitudes, world-class infrastructures and interdisciplinary skills are essential to underpin the potential nanotechnology revolution.”
COM(2004) 338 adopted by the Commission on 12 May 2004 [PDF]
Towards a European Strategy for Nanotechnology.
COM(2005) 243 - June 2005 [PDF]
Nanosciences and nanotechnologies: An action plan for Europe 2005-2009.
4. Other Useful websites
Data Protection — European Commission [HTM]
Developments of a frontier free Internal Market and of the so called 'information society' increase the cross-frontier flows of personal data between Member States of the EU. In order to remove potential obstacles to such flows and to ensure a high level of protection within the EU, data protection legislation has been harmonised. The Commission also engages in dialogues with non-EU countries in order to insure a high level of protection when exporting personal data to those countries. It also initiates studies on the development on European and international level on the state of data protection.
Global Ethics Observatory (GEObs) [HTM]
GEObs is a UNESCO system of databases with worldwide coverage in bioethics and other areas of applied ethics in science and technology such as environmental ethics, science ethics, and technology ethics.
5. Contact Point
Should there be further ethical issues in your ICT research proposal that are not addressed here please contact: Frank Cunningham
Last updated on: 2007-09-06