Further information on research transparency

In the Higher Education Development Agreement issued 12 November 2013, Lower Saxony's higher education institutions acknowledge their social responsibility and confirm their commitment to transparency in research by creating the conditions for a public debate on research contracts, research topics and the assessment of potential consequences in the application of research results, by making the results of publicly-funded research projects publicly accessible.

University development contract (in German)

In February 2015, the Rectors’ Conference of the higher education institutions of Lower Saxony (LHK) and the Ministry of Science and Culture of Lower Saxony (MWK) jointly published "Guidelines on Transparency in Research", which further substantiate the stipulations in the Higher Education Development Agreement. The higher education institutions are instructed to create a framework for responsible research by "sensitising the researchers to the ethical dimension of their research, developing ethical rules for dealing with security-relevant research in particular, and ensuring that advice is available for scientists".

Guidelines on transparency in research (in German)

The guidelines developed by the LHK and MWK are based on the recommendations for dealing with security-relevant research ("Freedom of Science and Scientific Responsibility"), developed by the German Research Foundation, together with the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina in 2014.

Scientific Freedom and Scientific Responsibility

Following their recommendations in February 2015, the DFG and Leopoldina have established a committee to support German research institutions with regard to effective and sustainable implementation of the recommendations.

Presentation of the Joint Committee on the Handling of Security-Relevant Research

The European Commission has also integrated the topics of research ethics and research results into its framework programme: Article 19 of the Horizon 2020 Research Framework Programme Regulation stipulates that research funded by the programme must comply with ethical principles. Applicants are therefore obliged to indicate whether their project has ethical implications. If so, a self-assessment on ethical issues is required. In this context, the European Commission published a guidance document in July 2015, explaining the information to be provided on certain issues, in order to ensure that the funding proposal is considered complete. Self-assessment does not only concern areas such as animal experiments or stem cell research, but is also relevant regarding whether research results could be used for military or terrorist purposes ("dual use", "misuse").

Guidelines of the European Commission for Self-Assessment in Ethics