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New ALLEA Statement released – “Ethics education in science”


On 2 October 2013 ALLEA has published a statement on “Ethics education in science” prepared by the ALLEA permanent working group on Science and Ethics. The statement highlights the need for adequate tools for ethics education and its integration in the curricula for early career researchers and scientists. It formulates recommendations to universities and academies carrying out or promoting research and emphasises their responsibilities in this context.

The statement provides reasons why ethics education is of increasing importance for the research community, society and the individual scientists. It underlines ALLEA’s long term interest in promoting excellence and high ethical standards in the conduct of science and research in Europe.

The authors, the ALLEA permanent working group on Science and Ethics chaired by Professor Göran Hermerén, state that researchers – perhaps more than ever – need to be able to take decisions based on a solid legal, ethical and scientific understanding of the subject matter and its potential implications for science and society. To this end, societies would need to set aside or create resources in order to ensure that all research is conducted by individuals who are endowed with the necessary literacy in ethics. The recommendations address ethics education in all scientific disciplines including the behavioural, the social sciences and the humanities.

The statement will be followed by a subsequent second part which is intended to complement the general principles and recommendations given in the first part with practical examples and references to on-line facilities and resources, thereby providing helpful guidance to the institutions with responsibility of educating and employing researchers as universities, academies, and other research performing organisations.

The participants of the joint meeting

The publication of the statement “Ethics Education in Science” coincided with the meeting of the ALLEA permanent working group on Science and Ethics in Bonn, Germany, on 2 October 2013. The meeting was held in the premises of and jointly with the German Reference Centre for Ethics in the Life Sciences (DRZE)/ Institute of Science and Ethics in Bonn which since 2004 has been a research centre of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts. 

Members of ALLEA permanent working group visited the facilities of the German Reference Centre for Ethics in the Life Sciences (DRZE). From left to right: Göran Hermerén (chair), Pere Puigdomenech, Pavel Kratochvíl, Ludger Honnefelder (former chair)

DRZE Director Dieter Sturma and executive manager Dirk Lanzerath presented the existing facilities and resources of the centre and discussed with the ALLEA delegates possible areas of collaboration in elaborating the second statement including examples of best practice in ethics education and references to relevant on-line facilities of the kind provided by DRZE. The meeting was preceded by a welcome dinner on the invitation of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts, represented by its Vice President Wolfgang Dieter Lebek, on the evening prior to the meeting.

Please click here for download of the statement “Ethics education in science”.

Printed copies of the statement will be provided upon request (

Further information on the activities of the ALLEA Permanent Working Group on Science & Ethics can be found here.

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