The Joint Committee on the Handling of Security-Relevant Research was established by the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and the German Research Foundation (DFG). The goal of the committee is to support research institutions in the sustainable implementation of the recommendations published in June 2014 by DFG and the Leopoldina under the title “Scientific Freedom and Scientific Responsibility”.
Professor Bärbel Friedrich ML, representative of the Leopoldina Presidium, and Professor Frank Allgöwer, Vice-President of DFG, serve as the chairpersons of the Joint Committee on the Handling of Security-Relevant Research, which initially has a three-year mandate. The various members come from relevant disciplines – from natural and life sciences to ethics and jurisprudence.
The joint committee stays abreast of the progress in enacting the recommendations through monitoring and provides support to the research institutes for the implementation of its proposals. Ideally, the process of establishing committees for ethics in security-relevant research or of appropriately extending the responsibilities of already existing ethics committees should be largely completed at German research institutions by the end of 2017. These committees should enable the individual institutes to properly and responsibly deal with troubling issues arising from specific research projects and to decide themselves how to continue. In order to assist German universities, research institutes and research associations with setting up these committees for ethics in security-relevant research and to ensure that the statutory tasks and powers of these committees are as uniform as possible, the Joint Committee drew up a set of model statutes.
The Joint Committee also serves as a contact point for questions and a platform for the exchange of information. If it is not possible for an adequate decision about a particular case to be made locally, the Leopoldina may appoint ad-hoc working groups that, in close cooperation with the Joint Committee, can make a risk-benefit assessment of the research in question.
Moreover, the Joint Committee publishes progress reports on a regular basis, keeps a close eye on developments in the area of security-relevant research in Germany, identifies potential fields of activity and provides advice to the Leopoldina and DFG regarding these issues.
ML = Member of the Leopoldina
First Progress Report of the Joint Committee, October 2016
The model statutes for Committees for Ethics in Security-Relevant Research (KEFs) can be downloaded here.
Berlin, 14 April 2016 - Documentation of the event (German)
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