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Rules on Compliance with the Principles of Scientific Ethics and Conflict of Interests Prevention during the evaluation and competitive selection of projects funded by grant support of the National Research Foundation of Ukraine

Rules on Compliance with the Principles of Scientific Ethics and Conflict of Interests Prevention during the evaluation and competitive selection of projects funded by grant support of the National Research Foundation of Ukraine (hereinafter – the Rules) defines the basic principles, moral and ethical rules that should be followed by all participants in the competitive selection of projects during its conduct, including during the preliminary consideration, carrying out scientific and scientific and technical expertise, a ranking of projects and deciding on the selection of the winner of competitive selection and financing of the proposed projects at the expense of grant support of the National Research Foundation of Ukraine (hereinafter – the Foundation).

GENERAL PROVISIONS

1.Purpose and objectives

The purpose of the Rules is to determine the basic moral and ethical principles and principles of work and behaviour of the members of the competition commissions, experts during the evaluation and carrying out of scientific and scientific and technical expertise of the projects financed by the Foundation, as well as to determine the ethical and professional rules that the participants of the competition should follow during conduction of selection.

The objectives of the Rules are:

  • ensuring the competitive, impartial and objective competitive selection of projects financed by the Foundation;
  • creating transparent conditions for the activity of the members of the competition commissions and experts during the consideration and evaluation of the projects financed by the Foundation, with the observance of the general ethical principles and scientific approaches to the evaluation of the projects that are the object of the evaluation, as well as the prevention of corruption;
  • ensuring the professional approach of the members of the competition commissions and experts to fulfill their duties, which presupposes observance of the principles of legality and professional competence
  • defining ethical standards for internal and external communication;
  • formation of a positive image of the scientist, enhancement of national and international authority of the persons conducting the consideration and evaluation of the projects financed by the Foundation.

2.The Scope

The Rules apply to all participants in the competitive selection of projects financed by the Foundation’s grant support, including:

  • the members of the commissions of the competition which carry out preliminary consideration of projects, make their rating;
  • national and foreign experts involved in carrying out scientific and scientific and technical expertise of projects submitted to competitions announced by the Foundation.

Persons elected to the commission of the competition or the composition of experts, who will consider or conduct a scientific and scientific and technical evaluation of projects (hereinafter – persons conducting the competitive selection and evaluation of projects), agree to be bound by the principles and rules defined by these Rules, and undertake to abide by them.

Persons elected to the competition commission or as experts agree to apply to themselves the requirements of these Rules by completing the application of the established sample (Annex 1).

The members of the Scientific Boards of the sections and the members of the Scientific Council of the Foundation, as participants in the competitive selection procedure, undertake to adhere to the general principles and rules set out in these Rules when selecting the members of the competition commissions, considering the issues of determining the winners of the competition and deciding on the approval of the results of the competition.

3. Regulatory and legal regulation of relations in the field of ethical behaviour of experts

The legal basis for regulating relations in the field of professional ethics and behaviour of persons conducting competitive selection and evaluation of projects is the Constitution of Ukraine, the laws of Ukraine “On scientific and scientific-technical activity”, “On scientific and scientific-technical expertise”, “On protection of public morality, ” On Corruption Prevention, ” On Copyright and Related Rights, “international agreements, including the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, World Copyright Convention, UNESCO Recommendations on the Status of Research Fellows of 20 November 1974, other regulations, including the Procedure for competitive selection and financing by the National research foundation for research and development projects, and these Rules.

PRINCIPLES OF SCIENTIFIC ETHICS

4. Basic principles of professional and scientific ethics and behaviour of persons conducting competitive selection and evaluation of projects.

The persons selected for the project selection and evaluation are obliged to carry out their activities in accordance with the following principles:

  • the rule of law;
  • respect for human rights and freedoms, non-discrimination;
  • independence, self-sufficiency and ideological neutrality; objectivity and impartiality;
  • competence and professionalism; integrity and ethical conduct;
  • confidentiality;
  • social responsibility.

The persons, conducting the competitive selection and evaluation of projects, are under obligation do not take an action in the event of a potential or real conflict of interest. If there are reasonable doubts as to the incompatibility of their actions or the decisions approved by them with anti-corruption legislation and the principles of scientific ethics, refuse to make such decisions or take actions.

The persons conducting the competitive selection and evaluation of projects are personally responsible for their decisions or actions.

5. Rule of law and legality

The persons conducting the competitive selection and evaluation of projects must comply with the requirements of the legislation of Ukraine and the requirements of these Rules.

6. Respect for human rights and freedoms, non-discrimination

Competition selection and evaluation of projects should respect all participants in the competition procedure and not allow any discrimination based on race, political, religious and other beliefs, gender (gender), ethnic and social origin, property status, place of residence, and language or other characteristics. In the performance of their duties, project selection and evaluation persons should refrain from making statements that may be considered discriminatory and raise doubts about their impartiality.

7. Requirements for independence, self-sufficiency and ideological neutrality

When evaluating research and development projects, persons conducting the competitive selection and evaluation of projects should be independent of any ideological, political, administrative, business, public or social pressure, and should not allow outside interference with their professional activities.

In order to respect the principle of independence in their professional activity, the persons conducting the competitive selection and evaluation of projects must resist any encroachment on their independence, defend professional rights, be assured and principled in the performance of their professional duties. Persons conducting the competitive selection and evaluation of projects must be independent in formulating professionally reasoned judgments and decision-making, preventing any attempt to interfere with the project review or evaluation process.

In order to ensure compliance with the principle of independence, persons involved in competitive selection and evaluation are not allowed to enter into unforeseen procedures for competitive selection of contacts with persons who are directly or indirectly interested in the results of the competition. The conclusions or decisions made during the competitive selection and evaluation of projects are formed in accordance with the law, based on their own professional evaluations and beliefs.

8. Requirements for competence and professionalism

The persons conducting the competitive selection and evaluation of projects must have deep and systematic knowledge in the relevant field of knowledge necessary for the professional review and evaluation of projects, including being familiar with the latest developments in science and technology.

The professional competence of the persons conducting the competitive selection and evaluation of projects means that such persons have higher professional education, high qualification, specialized scientific knowledge and experience of scientific and technical activities, including expert activity.

The persons conducting the competitive selection and evaluation of projects must objectively assess the adequacy of their qualifications and practical experience, scientific knowledge, skills and relevant competencies, to make informed decisions and to provide professional conclusions and assessment.

Persons conducting the competitive selection and evaluation of projects should refuse to consider or review projects that are not within their area of ​​competence, or in the absence of sufficient or necessary knowledge to consider or evaluate such projects.

In order to acquire new theoretical knowledge and professional skills, persons who involved in the competitive selection and evaluation of projects should be actively interested in participating in educational and scientific events, including scientific seminars, symposia and conferences, working groups, and keep up with changes in legislation or the scientific field and take other measures aimed at personal professional development.

9. Requirements for integrity and ethical conduct

Persons conducting the competitive selection and evaluation of projects must adhere to the general ethical principles of business communication. During the communication they must show kindness, a polite and tactful attitude to the interlocutor, respect the opinions of others about the subject of the evaluation, even when they do not coincide with their own estimates.

Persons conducting the competitive selection and evaluation of projects should avoid conflict situations and prevent them from occurring. In the event of a conflict, behave properly in accordance with the law, taking into account the responsibility that they have in relation to the status of expert or member of the competition commission.

Persons conducting the competitive selection and evaluation of projects must not participate in activities that may discredit them outside the competition. They should avoid committing actions that could raise doubt about their honesty and integrity.

Public comment or evaluation of the work of other persons, involved in the selection and evaluation of projects, is inadmissible.

10. Privacy requirements

Persons conducting the competitive selection and evaluation of projects are required to maintain the confidentiality of information and not disclose any information that they become aware of in the course of their duties, and to maintain confidentiality of previously reviewed projects and expertise, except cases which are defined by law.

The requirements for maintaining the confidentiality of information are also applied to the extent that it will not harm the process of objectivity of the consideration and evaluation of projects and the impartiality of the decision of choosing the winner of the competition.

Restrictions on the protection of confidentiality of information do not apply to cases where its disclosure is provided by the need to comply with the public interest and / or the requirements of the legislation.

The requirement of confidentiality of information extends not only to cases of its disclosure to third parties. The requirement of confidentiality presupposes that there is no possibility of forming an idea or a real impression that the persons conducting the competitive selection and evaluation of projects can use or use the information obtained by them in the course of work for their own personal purposes or for the benefit of a third party.

11. Requirements for social responsibility

The persons conducting the competitive selection and evaluation of projects must consider their social responsibility to the community. When considering and evaluating projects, they must take measures to prevent any threats that pose a potential risk to human health or life or the environment.

CONFLICT OF INTERESTS

12. Prevention of conflict of interest

The persons conducting the competitive selection and evaluation of projects must act in the absence of real or potential conflict of interest.

Persons conducting the competitive selection and evaluation of projects, at the stage of acquaintance with the composition of the participants of the competition, should claim the presence or absence of conflict of interest by making a statement of the established sample (Annex 2).

If there are actual or potential interpersonal conflicts, or conflicts of interest between different experts involved in the evaluation of the same project, the existence of these circumstances, if possible, should be declared.

In the case of circumstances that indicate a conflict of interest and were not known at the initial stage of competitive selection, the persons involved in the competitive selection and evaluation of projects must inform the organizers of the competition about the existence of such conflict and in the case of an expert – to withdraw from further evaluation of the project, and in the case of a member of the competition committee – to refuse to vote on such a project until consideration by the Scientific Council of the Foundation section of a question on the method of resolution of conflict of interest.

The grounds for refuse of involving an expert in the evaluation of the project, for declaring an expert to recuse himself from the evaluation, as well as for the removal or refusal of a member of the competition commission to participate in the voting are:

  • existing relative and family contacts with the persons involved in the project contractors (hereinafter – the organization participating in the competition);
  • employment in the organization participating in the competitive selection (during the last three years before the day of announcement of the competition);
  • membership in the supervisory or governing bodies of the organization participating in the competitive selection (during the last three years before the day of the competition announcement);
  • the presence of an expert or a member of the competition commission as the scientific supervisor of one of the contractors of the project or the presence among the contractors of the project of a person who was the scientific leader of the expert or a member of the competition committee (during the last three years before the day of announcement of the competition);
  • existing of joint scientific publications with one of the contractors of the project, or participation in joint scientific projects (during the last three years before the day of announcement of the competition);
  • other close scientific or commercial cooperation;
  • other direct scientific or commercial competition.

The persons conducting the competitive selection and evaluation of projects must declare their resignation or refuse to vote also in the presence of personal conflict with the persons participating in the competition.

It is not allowed to involve to the process of evaluation and evaluation of projects persons who are their Principal investigator or applicants.

Issues regarding the removal of persons conducting competitive selection and evaluation of projects, removal from voting, or the choice of another method of preventing conflict of interest shall be decided by the Scientific Board of the Foundation section in the event that one of the grounds mentioned above is identified.

The persons conducting the competitive selection and evaluation of projects must under no circumstances conceal personal and other factors that influence or may affect the objectivity of the decisions regarding the winner of the competition and the correctness of the project evaluation.

The members of the Scientific Councils of the sections and the members of the Scientific Council, as participants in the procedure of competitive selection, must declare the existence of grounds indicating a possible conflict of interest. This information shall be taken into account by the Scientific Council when it deciding whether to approve the results of the competition to the extent and in such a way that ensure the transparency, objectivity and impartiality of such decisions.

LIABILITY CONDITIONS

13. Responsibility for the validity, completeness and reliability of conclusions and decisions

The persons conducting the competitive selection and evaluation of the projects assume responsibility for the validity, completeness and accuracy of the conclusions and decisions made by them, the unlawful refusal to provide information and materials that may affect the objectivity of the results of the competition.

The conclusions of the evaluation, the decision on the project rating and the selection of the winners of the competition must be reasonable, objective, based on a thorough and comprehensive study of the project.

The persons conducting the evaluation are responsible for falsifying the conclusions of the evaluation, and the persons conducting the evaluation and determining the winner of the competitive selection – for the falsification of the decisions regarding the winners of the competition. Any deliberate and unreasonable delay in the process of evaluation, consideration of the project, as well as other actions that impede the proper organization and meeting the deadlines of selection of the competition are inadmissible and entail the liability provided for by law and these Rules.

Deliberately coercing or creating for members of the competition commissions and experts circumstances that lead to the unlawful or impartial conduct of the consideration and evaluation of projects or the preparation of unreasonable or deliberately unreliable decisions and conclusions inadmissible.

Any pressure, discredit or harassment of persons involved in the competitive selection and evaluation of projects, for the decisions they have made, the conclusions drawn, shall be prohibited.

The persons conducting the competitive selection and evaluation of projects are responsible for any violations that have occurred due to their fault, in particular as regards:

  • illegal use of copyright and industrial property;
  • breach of confidentiality of information obtained in connection with a project review or evaluation.

Persons conducting the competitive selection and evaluation of projects in respect of which cases of violation of the provisions of this Article have been established shall be warned of liability and excluded from consideration or evaluation of the project in the case of their first commission. In the event of repeated violations, such persons shall not be allowed to participate in competitive selection as a member of the competition commissions or experts for the next three years.

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