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European Network of Research Ethics and Research Integrity (ENERI)

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ENERI (European Network of Research Ethics and Research Integrity (ENERI))

Reporting period: 2017-12-01 to 2019-10-31

The European Network of Research Ethics and Research Integrity (ENERI) is a project funded by the European Commission in the Horizon 2020 programme for three years (from September 2016 to August 2019, with a cost-neutral extension until October 2019). During this time the ENERI consortium built up an efficient network of networks in the fields of research ethics (RE) and research integrity (RI).

ENERIs central goal was to bring RE and RI closer together. Building on already existing networks, ENERI was well prepared to meet this challenge. The European Network of Research Ethics Committees (EUREC), the European Network of Research Integrity Offices (ENRIO), the All European Academies (ALLEA) and eight other partners from relevant European organisations joined forces to form strong networking ties between RE and RI experts. ENERI improved the exchange for experts in RE and RI by establishing the ENERI e-Community and by developing recommendations and tools for researchers, Research Ethics Committees (REC) and Research Integrity Offices (RIO) of which the RI Handbook, the decision tree, and the RE and RI e-Manual are most important. On top of that ENERI offers the RE and RI community online training options that are available through the ENERI website.
The following four objectives were reached during the project duration:

Sharing experiences through communication and exchange (OBJECTIVE 1)
ENERI brought research ethics and research integrity experts and stakeholders at various workshops together and gave them the opportunity for communication, exchange, and sharing of experiences. A milestone was the joint RE and RI policy group meeting in Prague (March 2019). Furthermore, ENERI connected not only RE/RI experts and stakeholders, but also the different RE and RI SwafS projects. This was an important step within ENERI's work since there are many different SwafS projects in both fields that follow similar objectives and could very much profit from an exchange of plans, experiences, and results. The third path ENERI followed to foster communication and exchange was the participation of members of the ENERI consortium at RE and RI events throughout Europe.

Improving competence: training and capacity building (OBJECTIVE 2)
Research on existing training material for REC and RIO members was already conducted in the first reporting period. In the second reporting period, training materials were tested in two bootcamps. Finally, training materials and tools for capacity building were published as the “ENERI classroom” – a training material website (https://eneri.it.helsinki.fi/).
In addition, ENERI continued its work on the RE and RI Manual (http://eneri.eu/reri-manual/) a living document that helps the RE and RI community to find the most important conceptual, practical and procedural issues in RE and RI and ways to handle them. For researchers or persons who need to review research projects and want to find ethical questions and answers quickly the ENERI partners developed a further tool, the ENERI decision tree (http://eneri.eu/decision-tree/).

Ensuring awareness: indicators of effectiveness and certification (OBJECTIVE 3)
Research on expertise in research ethics and research integrity was conducted by work package 6 through a comprehensive empirical programme. The first step of the programme was directed at the completion of 1) a literature review and desktop research followed by 2) a qualitative interview study with a number of various RE/RI experts. The next phase of the programme constituted 3) a quantitative survey that targets a variety of actors, stakeholders, and organisations. 4) The last part of the empirical programme comprised a series of consensus conferences across four European cities with the aim to include potential database users and laypeople to discuss and validate existing findings on required expert qualifications and certifications for the EU level RE/RI expert database and e-Community. The results are available here: http://eneri.eu/criteria-for-expertise-in-reri/

Enhancing interaction: harmonisation and synergies (OBJECTIVE 4)
ENERI followed different paths to enhance interaction between RE and RI experts. Most important was the launch of the ENERI e-Community (February 2019). This database has been set up in SINAPSE (a free public service of the European Commission) and offers registered RE and RI experts a useful toolbox. The e-Community simplifies building strong network ties among its members and is a space for discussion and exchange, sharing of information, documents, and links, exchange of training material and cases.
Besides the work on the e-Community, the ENERI partners met OBJECTIVE 4 also by developing the RI handbook, the RE and RI Manual and the decision tree. The RI handbook (http://eneri.eu/ri-handbook/) is a kind of consensus document although representing different views on different topics reflecting a diversified European picture when it comes to experiences and lessons learned. It is the presumption that such recommendations will be especially important for countries who, for different reasons, are struggling with setting up a uniform and robust system for dealing with research misconduct or integrity but hopefully it will also serve as a basis for discussions and considerations in countries with established RI structures be it on a local and/or national level. The RE and RI Manual and the decision tree are tools for researchers, REC and RIO members to find appropriate ethical questions and answers quickly.
ENERI brought RE and RI experts from almost all European countries together and created a place for exchange and networking. The project had an intensive impact on member states. Through the cooperation and the meetings on the European level, incentives have been created for the member states to initiate national cooperation between RE and RI or RECs and RIOs, which had not existed yet.
During the three years of project duration, the network ties between EUREC, ENRIO, and ALLEA got very close. Overlapping topics and challenges have been discussed at different workshops, meetings and especially within the REC and RIO policy group. The involved networks will continue this work and will keep ENERI as a network of networks alive.