ALLEA Board starts preparations for the 2018 Presidency transition

ALLEA Board Members convened at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest on 3 September 2017 and started preparations for the upcoming transition of the ALLEA Presidency.

ALLEA Board during their discussions in Budapest at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences on 3 September 2017.

The ALLEA Board Members met on 3 September 2017 at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest. Participants discussed the next steps for ALLEA, including upcoming publications, working group and SAPEA activities, and the first steps of the new working group “Trust, Truth and Expertise”.

The participants also assessed next actions in preparation of the Presidency transition, which will take place during the next General Assembly in Sofia in May 2018. During the transition, six of the current Board Members will conclude their term. The ALLEA Secretariat already sent a call for nominations to Member Academies asking for proposals of Academy Fellows to renew the Board. ALLEA delegates will vote on the candidates at the General Assembly in Sofia in May 2018.

“Research involves imagining the future and wrestling with the issues that it throws up”

The chair of the ALLEA Working Group Framework  Programme 9 and lead author of ALLEA’s position paper “Developing a Vision for Framework Programme 9”, Professor John Bell, reflects on the EU’s future research and innovation programme after Horizon 2020 and elaborates on ALLEA’s recommendations on the topic. Professor Bell (Fellow of the British Academy)
 is a comparative lawyer who specialises in French and German law, jurisprudence (especially legal reasoning), public law and European law. He is currently Professor of Law at the University of Cambridge and has previously worked at the Universities of Oxford and Leeds.


Which is the most important aspect that policy-makers should consider in the development of the next EU research and innovation programme?

JOHN BELL: Policy-makers should seek to look into the middle distance: what is Europe and the world going to be like by 2040 and how do we prepare ourselves to engage with the opportunities and problems which that future poses. Many of the calls for research under Horizon 2020 have been driven by rather immediate preoccupations for which the Commission was looking for answers. That is consultancy, not research. Research involves imagining the future and wrestling with the issues that it throws up.

ALLEA’s FP9 working group’s position paper points out that the next framework programme must incentivise “impact focused on European societies not just economic or industrial benefit”. Could you elaborate which types of “impact focused on European societies” FP9 should specifically address?

J.B.: Innovation can be understood simply in terms of new products that will create new jobs and increase wealth. That is only part of the picture. European societies want a quality of life that comes from a tolerant living together in solidarity with those who are disadvantaged throughout the world. Such conviviality is the result not only of economic growth, but of caring for the environment, designing our cities, ensuring healthcare and welfare for the vulnerable in society, and promoting social integration of citizens, migrants and visitors.

How could the Societal Challenges pillar in Framework Programme 9 be more prominently developed and how would the role of researchers have to be adapted accordingly?

J.B.: We need first to identify the challenges that lie ahead. Horizon 2020 has rather a top-down approach to identifying these challenges and is very prescriptive about their content. The process needs more imagination to come from researchers who can suggest different themes to be explored. We also need to bring together the insights of different disciplines into reflection on these issues. Natural and biological scientists will bring insights from replicable trials. Humanities will bring insights from imagination and history, thinking through issues in hypothetical futures. Social sciences can bring forms of modelling to help us anticipate problems that may occur. Working together they can give a holistic view of what the future might be like and how to engage with opportunities and problems.

What are the most relevant contributions and/or shortcomings of the recently published Lamy Report?

J.B.: Lamy provides an important vision of how to develop research beyond 2020. Lamy recognises the importance of research and the need for a substantial commitment of funding. It recognises the important contribution of humanities and social sciences research to a holistic approach to problems. Lamy also recognises that ‘innovation is more than technology’ and that the contribution to society, as well as to the economy is important. Lamy’s approach to missions for research is far less detailed and prescriptive than Horizon 2020. At the same time, the indicative topics it suggests on p. 16 is too much focused on medical and technological developments. The broad topic of how we live together would encourage a wider range of issues to be addressed. ALLEA will be working with colleagues in other organisations to produce suggestions in time for the Lamy Group to review the feedback it has received in early 2018.

This interview was published in ALLEA’s Newsletter #12 (August 2017).

SAPEA vacancy: Senior Scientific Policy Officer

SAPEA is advertising a vacancy for a full-time Senior Scientific Policy Officer, located in Brussels, Belgium.

Further details can be found below:

Senior Scientific Policy Officer (code number 45/2017)

Application deadline: September 22, 2017
For the EU-funded project SAPEA (Science Advice for Policy by European Academies) acatech is seeking a full-time Senior Scientific Policy Officer (SSPO).

Starting date: as soon as possible
Duration: Until the end of the project October 31, 2020 with the possibility of extension in case a second project phase will be achieved.
Location: acatech Brussels office, Belgium

Contract and salary: In accordance with the German labour agreement for public services (TVöD, Grade 15), under a Belgian contract. The monthly basic gross salary for this vacancy ranges from EUR 5,676 to 6,480 (based on a 12 months calculation); according to the appointed candidate’s level of work experience and additional aspects, for example, the national social security system which has to be used. The Belgian rules for vacation time and the European holiday rules apply. In addition 10 leave days/year will be provided by acatech. Travel within the EU is expected.

About the SAPEA project:
The EU-project SAPEA consists of a Consortium of the five European Academy Networks Academia Europaea, ALLEAEASACEuro-CASE and FEAM. Spanning the disciplines of engineering, humanities, medicine, natural sciences and social sciences, SAPEA brings together the outstanding knowledge and expertise of Fellows from over 100 Academies, Young Academies and Learned Societies in more than 40 countries across Europe. Fellows provide their knowledge and expertise on a voluntary basis. SAPEA is part of the European Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM), which provides independent, interdisciplinary and evidence-based scientific advice on policy issues to the European Commission. SAPEA works closely with the SAM High Level Group of Scientific Advisors (HLG). Furthermore the SAPEA project aims to strengthen cooperation and to foster synergies between the Academy Networks and their Member Academies, as well as to enhance existing structures. The project is funded through a grant from the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme. It runs until October 31, 2020.

About acatech:
acatech – the National Academy of Science and Engineering – is the voice of the technical sciences in Germany and abroad. As a working Academy, acatech supports policymakers and society by providing qualified technical evaluations and forward-looking recommendations. acatech acts as Coordinator of the SAPEA project and will, on behalf of the project Consortium, employ the Senior Scientific Policy Officer (SSPO).

Tasks and Responsibilities:
The SSPO will be a leading expert in the field of independent science-based policy advice. He/she will be responsible for the strategic development and facilitation of SAPEA’s science-for-policy activities and is accountable to the SAPEA Board, whose core membership comprises the Presidents of the Academy Networks. He/she will take primary responsibility for the Rapid Response Mechanism, which provides fast links between requests from the European Commission (EC) and the existing knowledge within the Academy networks. He/she will act as the Chair of a team of 5 SAPEA Scientific Policy Officers (SPOs), who are employed by the respective Academy Networks and who mostly conduct the work on SAPEA’s science-for-policy projects. He/she will be a member of the project’s Coordination Team, working in close cooperation with the Executive Directors of the Academy Networks, the project Coordinator, and the Head of Communications to take joint decisions on procedural and conceptual matters. He/she will have direct access to the Board and will be a standing invitee to meetings of the SAPEA Board. He/she will participate in meetings between the SAPEA Board and the HLG to develop strategic approaches to science-for-policy projects.

The tasks and responsibilities of the SSPO include, among others:

  • Strategic development and facilitation of science-for-policy projects mostly conducted by the team of SPOs
  • Taking primary responsibility for project leadership within the Rapid Response Mechanism, which provides fast access to existing knowledge within the Academy Networks
  • Collaborate closely with the SAM Unit and High-Level Group regarding scientific topics, procedures and timelines
  • Chairing the team of SPOs and working closely with them to facilitate and support their activities
  • Organising a first assessment of scoping papers from the High-Level Group with the SAPEA Board
  • Maintaining ties and organising meetings regarding topic-driven activities with various representatives of the EC, other European bodies such as the European Parliament (incl. STOA), institutions involved in SAM, and selected stakeholders.


Additional SSPO tasks that are partially shared by the SPOs are, amongst others:

  • Drafting scoping papers, project outlines for scientific topics, work and budget plans
  • Organising and participating in working-group meetings with Academy Fellows, external experts, and EC representatives
  • Facilitating and possibly conducting reviews of scientific literature and other evidence
  • Possibly conducting structured expert interviews or scientific writing,
  • Horizon-scanning activities to identify and inform potential future scientific topics for SAPEA,
  • Organising and managing an independent peer-review process for SAPEA products,
  • Supporting the dissemination activities of the SAPEA Communications Office

Profile, skills, knowledge, experience and qualifications:

  • At least 10 years of experience in the field of science-based policy advice in a European framework or in EU science management or EU science policy projects.
  • A Master’s Degree coupled with other relevant post-graduate work experience or other qualification, a PhD qualification would be highly desirable,
  • Excellent knowledge of the science-policy interface at European level,
  • Excellent organisational and management skills
  • Proven experience in delivering scientific or science-based publications of the highest quality,
  • Strong interpersonal skills, with experience in building and maintaining strong working relationships with a range of internal and external stakeholders across Europe,
  • Proven ability to facilitate the work of a team
  • Proven experience in managing projects with leading scientists and other experts
  • Clear and confident communication skills, with the ability to communicate complex scientific issues to different target audiences,
  • Excellent oral and written proficiency in English (equivalent to native speaker level), working knowledge of German is an asset
  • An existing network of stakeholder contacts in the field of the science-policy interface and experience of working in an EU-funded project are an asset.
  • Experience of working with Academies is an asset.

If you are interested in applying for this position, please send your CV and motivation letter, together with details of two referees, to by September 22, 2017 (code number 45/2017, pdf- documents, not larger than 3 MB).
Candidates will be informed by the Selection Committee of its verdict by the end of September and the interviews for retained candidates will take place in Brussels in October. Travel expenses according to German law (BRKG) will be reimbursed. acatech reserves the right not to appoint.

acatech and SAPEA apply an equal opportunities policy and accept applications without distinction on the grounds of sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation.

For further information: (Horizon 2020 call, page 122 onwards.)

ALLEA publishes “The Role of Music in European Integration”

The second volume of the book series Discourses on Intellectual Europe will be presented at the ALLEA General Assembly in September and at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October

Just in time for the 2017 ALLEA General Assembly and the Frankfurt Book Fair, editor Professor Albrecht Riethmüller of the Union of German Academies of Sciences and Humanities has finished his compilation on “The Role of Music in European Integration: Conciliating Eurocentrism and Multiculturalism”, the second edition in the ALLEA book series on Discourses on Intellectual Europe, published by ALLEA.
The book, which is based on a workshop of the same title that took place at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, takes an in-depth look at the influence of music in moving Europe closer together, be it via European anthems or even more mundane things such as the Eurovision Song Contest.
The volume focuses on music during the process of European integration since the Second World War. Often music in Europe is defined by its relation to the concept of Occidentalism (Musik im Abendland; western music). The emphasis here turns rather to recent manifestations of its evolvement in ensembles, events, musical organisations and ideas; questions of unity and diversity from Bergen to Tel Aviv, from Lisbon to Baku; and deals with the tension between local, regional and national music within the larger confluence of European music. The status of classical and avante-garde music, and to a degree rock and pop, during Europe’s development the past sixty years are also reviewed within the context of eurocentrism – the domination of European music within world music, a term propagated by anthropologists and ethnomusicologists several decades ago and based on multiculturalism. Conversely, the search for a musical European identity and the ways in which this search has in turn been influenced by multiculturalism is an ongoing, dynamic process.
The delegates of ALLEA Member Academies as well as the participants of the ALLEA-AE joint conference in September in Budapest will get the chance to pick up a copy then. A wider audience will be introduced to the book at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October, where it will form part of the exhibition “Books on France”, this year’s partner country of the Frankfurt Book Fair.

The book is available from De Gruyter here

A(LLEA) vision for the future of European research

Experts from academies across Europe release position paper on the next framework programme for European research and innovation

Berlin, 12 July 2017 – An expert working group by the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities (ALLEA) released today the position paper Developing a Vision for Framework Programme 9 which evaluates and draws conclusions from the successes and shortcomings of Horizon 2020 and provides recommendations to the European Commission for the formulation of the successor framework programme for research and innovation.

ALLEA’s Framework Programme 9 Working Group calls for the EU to set itself and meet the ambition of being the world leader in research and innovation in the development and realisation of the next framework programme. That framework programme’s agitating concern should be to support research and innovation originality and creativity, and not to be led by administrative capacities. This will require a significant resource commitment especially for Horizon 2020’s most successful initiatives such as the European Research Council and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions. As importantly, however, the EU must add value, not replicate, national research systems, and put in place the foundations for a programme that incentivises interdisciplinarity, mobility, internationalism, excellence, impact focused on European societies not just economic or industrial benefit, and impact for the long-term.

In particular, the Working Group recommends that the next framework programme takes on board the suggestion of the report LAB – FAB – APP: Investing in the European future we want for a broader definition of innovation that involves all forms of knowledge and for the full recognition of the value and importance of the humanities and social sciences. The position paper furthermore calls for the EU to re-think significantly mission-oriented research, including purpose, long-term impact and horizons for such funding. The ALLEA experts underline that FP9 should provide more support for research infrastructures, particularly including research human capital infrastructures at a European level, and should encourage a range of size of grants from small to medium to large, with those of shorter duration having a quicker application process.

ALLEA President Professor Günter Stock states: “I am very grateful to our Working Group for presenting – with this position paper – a path to FP9 which is both visionary and feasible. For the future, it will be of vital importance that researchers in Europe can benefit equitably from EU funding regardless of their location. Therefore, the next framework programme must be constructed on the foundation of a strong spirit of ‘building excellence’ in all disciplines and across all member states. Future capacity-building efforts should particularly focus on research programmes in and cooperation agreements with countries which have shown low success rates in the run for EU research funding.”

The chair of the ALLEA FP9 Working Group Professor John Bell, a Fellow of the British Academy, highlights: “Europe needs research undertaken by the best minds to help it have flourishing and convivial communities through to 2040. To be prepared for the changes that lie ahead, Europe needs to ensure the different ways of thinking offered by humanities and social sciences, as well as by the natural and biomedical sciences, work productively together. It also needs a holistic concept of innovation that looks not only at contribution to economic prosperity but also at cultural, governance and social transformation.”

The ALLEA position paper partly responds to recommendations formulated in the so-called Lamy report, which was released a few days ago. The report of an independent High Level Group, lead-authored by the former Director General of the World Trade Organisation Pascal Lamy, presents 11 recommendations “designed to maximise the impact of future R&I programmes and further increase their return on investment for Europe and Europeans”, according to the authors.

With this position paper, ALLEA contributes to the debate following the release of the Lamy report. A dedicated stakeholder conference later this year will provide opportunities for more in-depth discussions of the recommendations in ALLEA’s position paper, bringing together key actors from the research and policy fields.

Download position paper in pdf format here.

Download press release here

ALLEA FP9 Working Group

ALLEA’s FP9 working group comprises twenty members from a wide range of disciplines and representing fifteen countries of the Council of Europe region. It seeks to continue to ensure that any successor research programme to Horizon 2020 is developed with the interests of the Wissenschafts-community in mind and in particular to ensure that the social sciences and humanities are fully represented. It encourages deliberation and foresight within the ALLEA member academies on the fields and activities in which EU funding will be a priority in the future in order to develop suggestions which are delivered to the EU Institutions to contribute to the shaping of new programmes of EU research funding. Read more here

ALLEA (All European Academies)

ALLEA, the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities, was founded in 1994 and currently brings together 59 Academies in more than 40 countries from the Council of Europe region. Member Academies operate as learned societies, think tanks and research performing organisations. They are self-governing communities of leaders of scholarly enquiry across all fields of the natural sciences, the social sciences and the humanities. ALLEA therefore provides access to an unparalleled human resource of intellectual excellence, experience and expertise.

Independent from political, commercial and ideological interests, ALLEA’s policy work seeks to contribute to improving the framework conditions under which science and scholarship can excel. Jointly with its Member Academies, ALLEA is in a position to address the full range of structural and policy issues facing Europe in science, research and innovation. In doing so, it is guided by a common understanding of Europe bound together by historical, social and political factors as well as for scientific and economic reasons.

ALLEA Board meets in Barcelona in preparation of the 2017 General Assembly

The ALLEA Board came together for their second meeting of the year in Barcelona on 26-27 June on the kind invitation of the Reial Acadèmia de les Arts i les Ciències de Barcelona (RACAB) and the Institut d’Estudis Catalans (IEC).  Among other topics, the participants discussed the preparations for the 2017 General Assembly and the latest activities of the ALLEA working groups as well as the SAPEA project.

Participants deliberated and agreed on the agenda of the business meeting for the 2017 General Assembly, which will take place in Budapest at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (HAS) on 4 September. Discussions included the final steps on the organisation of the follow-up scientific conference “Sustainability and Resilience” (4-6 September). The programme  of the event will address various aspects of Europe’s sustainability and resilience concerning its heritage, its social systems, its health, its economy, its climate, and its science and research landscape.

Regarding the activities of the ALLEA working groups, Board Members were informed about statements prepared by the Permanent Working Group Intellectual Property Rights and the Working Group Framework Programme 9 respectively, which will be published in the upcoming months and presented to the relevant authorities at the European level in order to make a contribution from the academies to on-going debates concerning the structural and legal conditions for science and research in Europe.  .

On the topic of ALLEA’s science-for-policy activities, the Board was updated on the progress of the SAPEA project (Science Advice for Policy by European Academies), which works within the European Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM). SAPEA is currently chaired by ALLEA President Günter Stock who steers the work of the project and regularly interacts with the EC High Level Group of Scientific Advisors, as well as with the Commissioner for Science, Research and Innovation.

Among other aspects, the contribution of ALLEA in the establishment of two working groups on the topic “Food from the Oceans” was discussed, which will work closely in an interdisciplinary approach to address the question “How can more food and biomass be obtained from the oceans in a way that does not deprive future generations of their benefits?” Furthermore, ALLEA actively contributes to the work on the topic “Authorisation Process for Plant Protection Products”.

As part of the visit, the President of the RACAB, Professor Ramon Pascual de Sans welcomed the ALLEA Board and introduced the participants to the activities and the history of the Catalan academy. The invitation included a visit to the centennial Observatory Fabra, which has been conducting astronomical observation since 1904 and is run by the academy. On the second day of the visit, the President of the Institut d’Estudis Catalans, Professor Joandomènec Ros i Aragonès invited the Board to his academy’s facilities and kindly led the Board through a guided visit to the National Library of Catalonia.

ALLEA statement on attack against President of Academy of Athens

ALLEA condemns the recent attack against the President of the Academy of Athens, Lucas Papademos, who has greatly contributed to science in Greece and Europe. ALLEA stands with the colleagues at the Academy of Athens and wishes Professor Papademos a speedy recovery from his injuries.

ALLEA Framework Programme 9 Working Group meets in Brussels

ALLEA’s Framework Programme 9 Working Group (FP9WG) met in Brussels on 8 May to discuss contributions from ALLEA to the development of the EU’s research and innovation Framework Programme 9 starting in 2021, succeeding the current Horizon 2020 programme.

The Group had a series of discussions about how aspects of Horizon 2020 could be constructively built upon in the next Framework Programme and where new areas could be explored. In addition, it considered how the Framework Programme could provide critical European added value and support research into the issues that face European society and culture currently and in the decades ahead.  

The Group aims to develop a position paper on Framework Programme 9 in the summer to present the academies’ position in the current debates on FP9’s development. The Group will also prepare to submit a document to a likely European Commission consultation in the autumn and undertake further outreach activities to present the Group’s viewpoint to relevant stakeholders in the months ahead.

The expert group was set up in 2016 as a successor to ALLEA’s Working Group on Social Sciences and Humanities (WGSSH). It seeks to ensure that any successor research programme to Horizon 2020 is developed with the interests of the Wissenschafts-community in mind and in particular to ensure that the Social Sciences and Humanities are fully represented.

“Creating a supportive climate for research integrity is the next big challenge for the academic system”

Interview with Dr Maura Hiney, lead author of the revised European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity

The lead author of the revised European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity, Dr Maura Hiney, elaborates on the key aspects of the new edition. In addition to her involvement in ALLEA, Dr Maura Hiney was chair of the Science Europe Working Group on Research Integrity during its remit, and is Head of Post-Award and Evaluation at Health Research Board (HRB) in Ireland, which includes the development of policy for the organisation.


Why was the revision of the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity necessary? Could you give us a few examples of main new challenges covered in the revised version? 

MAURA HINEY: The previous European Code of Conduct was developed by ALLEA and the European Science Foundation back in 2010. It was a very important document at the time, but much has changed in the intervening years that rendered it somewhat outdated and indicated a revision. I see three main areas of change. Firstly, even in the space of seven years, there have been significant changes in the research environment in Europe. With a recognition of the importance of the ‘knowledge economy’ many countries have increased the level of public funding for research, but have married that with increased targeting and prioritisation of research areas. There has also been an increased demand for application-driven research and for partnering with the enterprise sector.

“Even in the space of seven years, there have been significant changes in the research environment in Europe.”

Secondly, there have been many technology-driven changes for research and for how researchers interact and communicate their findings, which are sometimes collectively termed ‘Open Science’. Examples include: new publishing models to allow open access to publications; open publication platforms such as F1000 that are far broader in the content they will accept for publication and use post-publication peer review; increased demand for dissemination of research data through repositories and other platforms; and the advent of new social media tools to disseminate research findings outside of the peer-review system.

Thirdly, there have been societally-driven changes, with a more science-literate and interested public who want greater access to, and understanding of, the evidence unpinning many facets of their lives such as health and environment; the emergence of crowd funding of research and citizen science projects; and a greater appetite among the public for transparency and accountability in research following high-profile misconduct cases in many pillar institutions (banks, the church, the police etc.).

Together all of these changes are both very exciting and very challenging for the research community in terms of ensuring continued Good Research Practice, and there was a need to update the European Code of Conduct to reflect this.

So what is new in the revised Code of Conduct?

M. H.: Much of the existing Code of Conduct was preserved in the revision process. However, there were some important changes made. Readers will instantly notice that the revised Code of Conduct is much shorter and more concise, which the drafting group felt was very important if it is to be widely read and used. The revised Code takes account of the changes in the research environment and those driven by technology and society that have emerged since 2010. The Principles have been refined to isolate the essential underpinning values of research, with more process-driven concepts moved to the appropriate section in the good research practices.

“The Code is written as a description of what IS done to ensure integrity in the research process, rather that what SHOULD be done, which can sometimes be interpreted as optional.”

The Code of Conduct includes a number of important innovations. The Code is written as a description of what IS done to ensure integrity in the research process, rather that what SHOULD be done, which can sometimes be interpreted as optional. Research Environment is placed first among the good research practices, to stress the vital role that research institutions and organisations play in establishing, nurturing and supporting a climate of research integrity. The section on Training, Supervision and Mentoring is greatly expanded to reflect a growing understanding of the pivotal role that these play in improving the skills of researchers at all levels of their career, not just in research integrity and ethics, but also in design, methodology and analysis. Likewise, a new section on Collaboration reflects the increasing cross-disciplinary, cross-sectoral and cross-border nature of research activity.

The chapter on Violations of Research Integrity includes some important unacceptable practices which were not captured in the original Code. These underscore: the importance of publishing all data and materials that can contribute to reproducibility and replicability (not withholding results); the importance of disseminating negative results, which is now possible with the advent of open publishing platforms; and the importance of allowing researchers the independence to do their work without interference from funders or sponsors who might wish to enhance (or suppress) particular findings.

The ALLEA drafting group involved a wide range of stakeholders in the revision process. Could you tell us a little more about the consultation and how it contributed to come to a final revised version of the Code?

M. H.: The stakeholder consultation was a vital component of the revision of the Code. We chose, for practical reasons, to consult with representative organisations and associations for researchers (both established and emerging), universities, funding agencies, publishers, the enterprise sector and policy-driven groups and in total 22 of these stakeholder organisations became involved in the consultation process.

“We could not have produced a relevant and comprehensive revision of the Code of Conduct without this generous and intensive input from the research community in all its forms.”

This provided us with a wide range of perspectives on what a Code of Conduct should cover, but also helped to ensure that the Code would be widely applicable across Europe and beyond. We invited written submissions on both the original Code and where the gaps lay, and on a draft of the revised Code – both of which were mapped carefully and incorporated where possible and appropriate. The Stakeholder Workshop held in November 2016 in Brussels, and made possible by the European Commission, was a fantastic opportunity for us to hear at first hand about the ideas and challenges faced by the different stakeholders with regards to the Code. It also provided and opportunity for diverse groups to exchange ideas and reach a better understanding of each others challenges. Overall, we could not have produced a relevant and comprehensive revision of the Code of Conduct without this generous and intensive input from the research community in all its forms.

The competitive nature of the academic career system is often considered to increasingly disincentivise research integrity. What would you suggest to overcome this challenge and how might the Code of Conduct help tackle this issue?

M. H.: Yes, there is certainly a significant body of evidence to support the impact of competition for career advancement and funding on the behaviour of researchers. Unfortunately, as in any resource constrained system competition will remain a feature of the academic world. That is why I think that improvements in the research environment are so important.

“Unfortunately, as in any resource constrained system competition will remain a feature of the academic world. That is why I think that improvements in the research environment are so important.”

There is a growing body of evidence to demonstrate that providing a supportive climate for research integrity, from strong organisational policies and practices, to encouraging open discourse among colleagues about the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis, coupled with adequate training and mentoring, can enhance research integrity and ethical behaviour. Creating such a climate is the next big challenge for the multitude of actors in the academic system from research organisations, to funders, publishers, governments and of course the research community itself.

The European Commission will implement the Code as the required standard of research integrity for projects funded by Horizon 2020. In your view, how could the Code be applied and implemented on the national level in order to best serve the research community across Europe?

M. H.: Most European countries either already have, or are in the process of developing, national policies, guidelines or codes of conduct. Many of these used the original ESF/ALLEA European Code of Conduct as their starting point. I do not believe that a truly harmonised policy and regulatory environment across Europe is a realistic goal.

“The revised European Code of Conduct can continue to provide a common framework from which national and local codes and policies can be developed or updated to reflect current challenges.”

However, the revised European Code of Conduct can continue to provide a common framework from which national and local codes and policies can be developed or updated to reflect current challenges. This will be important in ensuring consistency at a high level and promoting a common understanding of what constitutes good practice in research. That can only benefit the European research community and enhance public trust in their research outputs.


A shorter version of this interview was published in ALLEA Newsletter of May 2017

G7 Science Conference: The role of academies and academy networks in policy advice

The international conference, organised by Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei under the auspices of the G7 Academies initiative and Italy’s Presidency of the G7 2017 summit, brought together in Rome on 3 May prominent representatives of the national and international academies, as well as Italian high level officials to discuss the role of national academies and international academy network in providing policy advice to institutions.

Credit: G72017 Italia

ALLEA President Günter Stock participated in a panel discussion with representatives of international academy networks of Africa, Asia, America and Europe, and brought to the table a European perspective on the roles and responsibilities of academies to advise institutions. President Stock highlighted both the achievements of European academies in shaping the framework conditions for research in Europe and  more recent efforts in the field of science for policy field by providing science advice on societally-relevant matters on the European level.  In this regard, President Stock presented the work of the SAPEA project (Science Advice for Policy by European Academies), which connects academy networks across Europe to support the European Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) on the development of science-based policies.

“We can no longer afford to sit in our ivory tower or we are running in real danger of drifting into obscurity, in modern terms we would call it alternative facts”

Recalling the most recent political developments in Hungary and Turkey, President Stock emphasised the challenges ahead for science and academies to defend the principles of academic freedom in times of political attacks and disdain to science and facts. “We can no longer afford to sit in our ivory tower or we are running in real danger of drifting into obscurity, in modern terms we would call it alternative facts”, said President Stock.

Furthermore, the conference presented the work of the G7 Academies initiative, chaired by Accademia dei Linzei President Alberto Quadrio-Curzio.  The coordinators of the working groups presented joint statements on three main topics: the relevance of culture heritage, the challenge of neurodegenerative diseases and the role of science, technology, innovation and infrastructure in the new economic growth.

The event was attended by high level Italian officials and personalities, including Sergio Mattarella, President of the Italian Republic, Romano Prodi, former Prime Minister and President of the European Commission,  Dario Franceschini, Minister of Cultural Heritage, and Pier Carlo Padoan, Minister of Economy and Finance.