The project

PROmoting integrity in the use of RESearch results (PRO-RES)

PRO-RES project aims to produce a guidance framework regarding the delivery of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), which is required from researchers and research funding and performing organizations (RFPO), in order to balance political, institutional and professional contradictions and constraints.
This framework aims to:

• cover the spectrum of non-medical sciences and
• offer practical solutions for all stakeholders, that will comply with the highest standards of research ethics and integrity.

In terms of post-2020 European strategic funding policy this offers a strong and sustainable contribution to RRI via a comprehensive ethics and integrity framework similar to Oviedo/ Helsinki which will have been constructed in negotiation with relevant stakeholders.

The need

Researchers and research funding and performing organizations face serious risks in delivering Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), in striving to balance many political, institutional and professional contradictions and constraints. These are as difficult and demanding in nonmedical fields as in biomedical research. More specifically, researchers, reviewers, regulators and policymakers are tested by the diverse codes of ethical practice and regulations, by the complexities of relevant data protection legislation, by inconsistencies in the applications of regulations and by the practical professional pressures of acting in diverse non-medical research fields.

Main objective

The overall goal of the 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 and similar to Oviedo/Helsinki guidance frameworks in the medical fields. PRO-RES will draw upon previous foundational work funded by the EC, and other national and international agencies. While linking to existing foundational work, to be durable and sustainable the outcome must also be flexible enough to meet anticipated future needs ensure that the Framework in corporates RRI principles and practices, especially regarding the governanceof RRI constellations of actors. Consequently, the 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.

Strategic Objectives:

The main objective is supported by the following 7 strategic objectives

1. Identify and categorise stakeholders, guidelines and codes, across the EU area and across non-medical disciplines, to ensure that the organisation and channelling of expertise, in the context of policy advice, is well understood.

2. Activate and engage stakeholders across the EU and across disciplines.

3. Construct a normative framework for evidence based policy originating from cutting edge research responses to ethical challenges.

4. Understand the implications and pragmatic issues that are entailed in the implementation of such a framework at a national level and analyse the relationship between science based policy advice, responsible conduct of research and research ethics.

5. Ensure that the produced framework in sustainable and adaptive and can anticipate future needs that may arise from new scientific discoveries and new available technologies.

6. Provide a toolbox to policy makers to monitor ethical use of research results and be able to perform impact evaluation and gauge the socio-economic impact of not conducting responsible research.

7. Ensure that the needs of society are well encapsulated in the framework.

Concept and approach:

As its ultimate outcome, PRO-RES will create an Oviedo/Helsinki type framework that could apply to the full range of non-medical sciences drawing upon previous foundational work funded by the EC, and other national and international agencies. Several specific issues related to integrity in the use of research results in evidence-based policy making which will be unpacked during the PRO-RES project. Understanding how each of these issues can be addressed is core to the work.

1. Identify and categorise stakeholders, guidelines and codes, across the EU area and across non-medical disciplines, to ensure that the organisation and channelling of expertise, in the context of policy advice, is well understood.

1.Drafting the Framework: PRO-RES will work towards building a research ethics and integrity framework devised cooperatively with, and seen as acceptable by, the full range of relevant stakeholders and similar in form to Oviedo/Helsinki.

2.Testing the Framework: ‘Bench testing’ of the framework (in vitro) will be conducted in ‘thought experiments’ with working groups selected from the partners.

3.Finalisingthe Framework / Dissemination: The final framework will incorporate all the feedback from the consultation process as well as the test cases.

4.Consultation process: the consortium will build up a core group of stakeholders and then enlarge it with the aim of promoting consensus and engagement with the project issues.

5.PRO-RES website: an Interactive virtual platform housing a living document: The framework, backed by a series of relevant resources, will be housed on a virtual interactive platform to a range of access levels which will be practically applicable to non-medical research projects from undergraduate to high level projects by fully funded professional research agencies.

6.Sustainability: of the platform and the framework needs to be taken care both from the substantive and technical point of view, for the PRO-RES framework to remain updated and in use after the end of the project.

7.Providing innovative tools for the Framework: Regulation, monitoring and assessment will aim to propose, through the Framework, a series of innovative tools with the objective of constructing key indicators to promote a virtuous use of research results.

About the Project Framework

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