The Marie S. Curie FCFP takes into account both the need to ensure freedom of research and the need to work in the interest of the physical and moral integrity of individuals.
In order to identify ethical issues at an early point in the application process, all applicants are required to fill in the “ Marie S. Curie FCFP ethical issues table”. Furthermore, applicants are requested to explain ethical issues arising from their proposed research in detail in the project outline. The applicant should explain how these will be addressed, so as to conform to national and Seventh Framework Program (FP7) ethical principles.
Detailed information on identifying and dealing with ethics issues is provided in the GUIDE FOR APPLICANTS - Marie Curie Actions (Ethics). For further advice, please see the CORDIS website on ethics, the ethics section of the FP7 participant portal or contact the FCFP programme coordinator.
A preliminary screening during the eligibility check also looks at potential ethical issues, even if they were not pointed out by the applicant, to identify proposals requiring ethical evaluation.
In addition, experts in the international peer-review procedure are asked to indicate relevant ethical issues raised by the proposal.
Should there be a potential issue, and should the application successfully pass through the formal selection procedure, the project proposal is then referred to the university's ethics commission. This body operates on the basis of a code of procedure that fulfills the necessary requirements for such a commission as stated in various German laws. The same procedure applies should ethical issues arise during work on a given project.
The ethics commission issues a decision that may include requirements and restrictions. This decision is binding under the employment contract and different laws. As soon as the decision is issued and if it does not stand in the way of the project, the fellowship is offered to the applicant. In the event that the requirements and restrictions are extraordinarily difficult to fulfill, the Scientific Advisory Board has the authority to turn down an application on these grounds.
In compliance with the European Commission's Code of Ethics for Researchers, the fields of research on human embryos solely for the purpose of research or for the purpose of stem cell procurement, human cloning for reproductive purposes and modification of the genetic heritage of human beings which could make such changes heritable are excluded from the programme.
In case FRIAS receives a proposal using human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) the following specific procedure applies:
- The international experts must mention in their evaluation report, if the use of hESCs is justified and necessary for the success of the project.
- If the project is suggested for funding, the FRIAS programme coordinator contacts immediately the Research Executive Agency (REA) project officer, who will forward the research proposal and the scientific evaluation reports for the European Commission ethics review.
- In addition, the REA will ask the PEOPLE Programme Committee for its opinion.
- The research using hESCs may not start until the proposal receives the approval of the EC ethics review and the PEOPLE Programme Committee, which will communicated by the REA project officer.