At a glance

The main objective of PRO-RES project is to build a research ethics and integrity framework devised cooperatively with, and seen as acceptable by, the full range of relevant stakeholders. Τhe framework will be ‘staged’ starting with a simple introductory level of ‘basic principles’ leading to more explanatory/background levels and ultimately more complex aids for decision-making at later stages.

The PRO-RES Framework

Decision takers and policymakers should be seeking evidence to support their work from the range of expertise on offer. Sound, reliable, transparent research, not driven by ideology or subservient to it and undeclared vested interests, produces robust evidence that can benefit social wellbeing and societal progress. It is in the interests of the scientific community to ensure the evidence produced is reliable and trustworthy and ethically generated. It is in the interests of those who make policy to be able to assure the decision takers (and the general public) that evidence has been generated in the best possible way. 

We present here a draft statement of principles that lie behind seeking/using ethical evidence from non-medical research to inform policy. The short, clear, succinct and actionable statement we present here is designated the ‘Accord’. This is the baseline that we intend the further consultation process to be built on.  

Neither its title nor content is ‘fixed’ at this point. The Accord will be accompanied with further tools and information/resources, thus constituting the PRO-RES Framework for non-medical research 

We aim to explore its potential with the appropriate constituencies and across the range of stakeholders. These include the producers of research, disseminators and intermediaries, influencers, policy advisers, decision-makers and implementers. The draft Accord is based on the work accomplished by the first phase of the PRO-RES Project and based on declared foundational assumptions about the values, principles and standards involved in ethical research conducted with integrity. 

What do we mean by Continuous Discursive engagement  Click here to expand

  • There needs to be an ethical discourse to be sure that researchers are aware of, and sensitive to, the ethical dimensions of their work.  That awareness depends on engagement in ethical discourse as an integral aspect of engagement in research.
  • To bring about a cultural change in research activity, theremustbe engagement of everyone responsible for the process, including researchers, stakeholders, peers and the users of research. 
  • This engagement needs to be continuous. Ethical issues can arise at every stage of research: conception, development, proposal, process, conclusion, dissemination and use. Ethical consideration cannot be a single-stage process.

The Accord

  • We commit to only use research that is undertaken ethically. 
  • We recognise that an underpinning by high quality research and evidence, including policy appraisals and evaluations, is a pre-condition for evidence-based policy-/decision-making, and hence rational policy actions and outcomes. 
  • We will seek to employ high quality evidence that has been gathered, collated and analysed using sound, robust and ethical methods. 
  • We will attempt to ensure that the funding, management, conduct, dissemination and governance of research meets high standards of ethics and integrity. 
  • As individuals and institutions involved in collecting and/or using evidence in policymaking, we aim to be transparent on how the high quality of that evidence is assured and will flag up any potential conflicts of interest. 
  • We agree that the independence and integrity of individuals responsible for the gathering of research evidence and its use in policymaking must be respected and supported in ways that ensure the evidence they produce is neither biased nor misleading. 

In talking about ethical evidence, we are both tackling the principle of evidence per se and the way this evidence is built throughout the whole research process from inception through to application or use.  

Principles behind the Accord Click here to expand

In seeking to promote ethics and integrity in the evidence produced in all non-medical research: 

  • Under a commitment to evidence-based policy, all evidence should be based as far as possible on ethically sound research. 
  • There are many forms of research. They include not just formal research projects and programmes, but a range of actions relating to investigation, discovery, exploration, practice, and disciplinary development. Every kind of research needs to be done ethically. 
  • Research should be beneficent (or at least non-maleficent) in its aims, its substantive focus, in the process of research, and its application. 
  • Ethical issues can arise at every stage of research: conception, development, proposal, process, conclusion and dissemination.  It follows that ethical consideration cannot be a single-stage process; it has to be continuous. 
  • Researchers have to be aware of, and sensitive to, the ethical dimensions of their work. That awareness depends on engagement in ethical discourse as an integral aspect of engagement in research.  Ethical conduct cannot adequately be guaranteed by a fixed number of pre-set rules. 
  • All researchers should aim to develop a culture of ethical research, based on continuous discursive engagement.  To achieve this, there has to be engagement of everyone responsible for the process, including researchers, stakeholders, peers and the users of research. 
  • Research should not be based on pre-formed prejudicial ideologies or biased political or financial interests.  
  • Conflicts of interest should ideally be avoided in the production of research evidence. If this is not possible, all conflicts of interest should be fully disclosed. 
  • All sources of information used to formulate research evidence should be acknowledged. 
  • In order to produce high quality evidence, research must be methodologically robust. 
  • Only research that has also been conducted ethically and with integrity can be considered ‘high quality’. 
  • All research should be funded, managed, conducted and disseminated ethically and with integrity.  
  • The processes and institutions involved in the selection of evidence, including research, to inform policy should be independent, open and transparent.  
  • The effectiveness and impact of all policies should be honestly and transparently assessed or evaluated using high quality research methods. 

HORIZON 2020

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 788352.

Partners

The project brings together 14 partners from ten European states.

Launching of project

PRO-RES kick off meeting was held on May 22-23, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium.

PRO-RES

A European challenge

PROmoting integrity in the use of RESearch results.

Βackground

Background to Project. What is PRO-RES and what are its aims? A short guide to understanding the ideas behind the Project.

Workshops

The PRO-RES Workshops.

The Foundational Statements

The PRO-RES Foundational Statements for Ethical Research Practice

Newsletter

The PRO-RES Newsletter.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Related Projects

PRO-RES is one of a number or projects funded by the European Commission concerned with the ethical conduct of research and with scientific integrity. A report on this ‘cluster’ of projects is available here

The following are some of the main concurrent and/or recent projects linked to the PRO-RES aims of supporting science with and for society.

SOPs4RI

Promoting excellent research and a strong research integrity culture that aligns with the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity.

ENERI

European Network of Research Ethics and Research Integrity

PRINTEGER

Promoting Integrity as an Integral Dimension of Excellence in Research

SATORI

Stakeholders Acting Together On the ethical impact assessment of Research and Innovation

ETHICSWEB

Inter-connected European information and documentation system for ethics and science: European Ethics Documentation Centre

RRI-TOOLS

Responsible Research and Innovation

RESPECT

Professional and Ethical Codes for Technology-related Socio-Economic Research

DEFORM

Determine the Financial and Global Impact of Research Misconduct

ARC OF INQUIRY

Ark of Inquiry: Inquiry Awards for Youth over Europe

ENGAGE

Equipping the Next Generation for Responsible Research and Innovation

ENTIRE

Mapping the Normative framework for Ethics and Integrity of Research

IRRESISTIBLE

Including Responsible Research and innovation in cutting Edge Science and Inquiry-based Science education to improve Teacher’s Ability of Bridging Learning Environments

SiS CATALYST

Children as Change Agents for the future of Science in Society

ArConsider

Civil Society Organisations in Designing Research Governance

GREAT

Governance for REsponsible innovATion

Res-AgorA

Governance Framework for Responsible Research and Innovation

SIENNA

Stakeholder-Informed Ethics for New technologies with high socio-ecoNomic and human rights impAct

SYNENERGENE

Responsible Research and Innovation in Synthetic Biology

RESPONSIBLE-INDUSTRY

Responsible Research and Innovation in Business and Industry in the Domain of ICT for Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing

PARRISE

Promoting Attainment of Responsible Research & Innovation in Science Education

PROGRESS

PROmoting Global REsponsible research and Social and Scientific innovation

RESPONSIBILITY

Global Model and Observatory for International Responsible Research and Innovation Coordination

TRREE

TRaining and Resources in Research Ethics Evaluation

SHERPA

Shaping the ethical dimensions of smart information systems (SIS) – a European perspective