Technologies with potentially high socio-economic impact raising complex ethical issues must be analysed from an ethical perspective to maximise their societal benefit and minimise harm.
The exponential scientific progress resulting in the mushrooming of these new technologies (e.g. gene editing, DNA digital data storage, Artificial Intelligence, etc.), calls for a coherent research and innovation ethics approach at EU level.
This work aims at complementing the work started in the context of SwafS-18-2016 call that addressed three areas: genomics, human enhancement and man-machine interactions (project SIENNA).
The action should:
- conduct a similar analysis and refine the model and guidelines produced by the project funded under the above call. In order to do so, the action should carry out a thorough scanning of the technology horizon to identify three or four different technologies (or family of technologies) with an equivalent socio-economic impact.
- For each (family of) technology, the action should explore the attitudes of the various stakeholders, including the research community and the broader public, towards this type of research and innovation and its ethical implications.
- examine the impact of these technologies notably with a view to identifying the necessary elements that could best support the research community in integrating the ethics dimension into their research protocols.
A comparison within the EU and with other regions of the world, on both the legal/regulatory and procedural framework (existing or under development) as well as on the level of societal awareness and acceptance, constitutes an important element of the work. This analysis should integrate the role of ethics committees and other advisory and regulatory structures.
The work undertaken should result in:
- (A) operational guidelines for the research and innovation conducted in each of the studied fields. The guidelines should ensure “ethics by design” and be drafted to support the work of the research community, research ethics committees and integrity bodies. They must be in line with the new European code of conduct for research integrity.
- (B) The action should also propose a code of responsible conduct for researchers (in academia and industry), taking into account the expectations of the different stakeholders. This should be achieved by actively involving civil society organisations and panels of citizens from different socio-economic groups including vulnerable populations, taking into consideration gender aspects.
- (C) Considering the rapid scientific evolution of the field, ways to enhance existing ethics and normative frameworks should be proposed.
- (D) As regards the research integrity aspects per se, the need to complement the above mentioned European Code with specific guidelines should be assessed. If needed, a proposal for short documents complementing the Code should be made.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of the order of EUR 4.00 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
15 April 2020 17:00:00 Brussels time
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