Title: Independent Ethics Advisor for the Horizon Europe project “NETS4DEM”
Contract Period: February 2024 to June 2026
DRI is looking for an Independent Ethics Advisor (IEA) for the Nets4Dem project, funded by the European Research Executive Agency (REA) under the Horizon Europe funding programme.
Nets4Dem puts forward a Network of Networks approach to establish and develop a European network of practitioners and researchers in the field of democracy, civic deliberation, participation and citizenship education.
The Consortium of the network brings together widely networked organisations with long-term expertise in democratic innovation across a broad range of areas (including digital democracy, rule of law, climate change, also through cultural and creative approach). It is composed of umbrella organisations, that will draw on their already existing networks to contribute to the call outcomes.
The unique approach that Nets4Dem puts forward is to ‘weave’ more and better connections between existing actors and networks already active in the wider democracy field, taking advantage of each other’s strengths and reducing duplication.
Nets4Dem will focus its efforts on four main objectives: (1) creating, fostering and sustaining stronger Network of policy makers, practitioners and researchers; (2) systematizing and connecting the fragmented knowledge on democratic innovation and governance research; (3) establishing a coordinated European approach to promote systematic accessibility of democratic innovation; (4) raising the ambition of policy making through policy recommendations to strengthen democracy at all levels of governance.
In the framework of work package 1&2 (Project Management and Coordination) of the project, the network’s Consortium develops the following guiding documents:
- Ethics policy: The ethics policy will ensure that all ethics issues related to activities in the grant are addressed in compliance with ethical principles, the applicable international and national law, and the provisions set out in the Grant Agreement and will be based on a completed ethics self-assessment.
- Data Management Plan (DMP): The DMP will set out procedures for safe processing of data generated/collected by the project, win compliance with the GDPR.
- Risk Management Plan (RMP): The RMP will guide the implementation of all work packages in terms of risk monitoring, mitigation and adaptation, and factor such aspects as institutional, political, financial, legal, relational and ethical risks.
Elements of the project particularly relevant to ethics management include, amongst others:
- The collection and usage of personal data gathered in the context of research activities and the organisation of events and capacity building activities across Europe, in line with the right to privacy and the right to the protection of personal data.
- The implications of the transfer of this data from and to non-EU countries in which the project will be implemented.
- The involvement of humans in project activities.
The ethics management of the Nets4Dem project will be implemented in compliance with:
- Ethical principles, including the highest standards of research integrity as set out in the ALLEA European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity.
- Applicable EU, international and national law, including the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and its Supplementary Protocols.
Activities to be carried out:
- The IEA will assess the ethical merits of the work performed by the consortium on a regular basis and provide independent recommendations on the project’s compliance.
- Develop a proactive approach to raising and maintaining ethics awareness, and ensure that all aspects of the project’s activities maintain an ethical perspective. Ethics needs should permeate all parts of the project ‘culture’ to be effective.
- The IEA will serve as a resource for advice and guidance when ethical issues and dilemmas arise during project activities.
- Where appropriate, the IEA can give advice on approval requirements, risk-benefit assessments, guidance on specific ethical questions and guidance concerning the relevant legal framework and regulatory requirements in the countries where the research takes place.
Expected Deliverables / Outputs
The IEA will draft three reports throughout the project duration based on their assessment of the planned and implemented project activities.
- First ethics report: To be completed by 6 March 2024
The first ethics report should serve as a guiding document for the project’s ethics policy as well as its Data Management Plan and Risk Management Plan. It should further suggest appropriate procedures, policies and structures to be put in place to foster responsible research practices, to prevent questionable research practices and research misconduct, and to handle allegations of breaches of the principles and standards in the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity.
- Second ethics report: To be completed by 1 December 2024
- Third ethics report: To be completed by 1 June 2026
Allocated time for activities
The listed tasks are to be performed by the selected candidate over the 3-year time frame. The gross of active work will happen in the two weeks before the respective deadlines for each report. The majority of advisory work will happen sporadically throughout the project duration.
The candidate must fulfil the following qualifications:
- A relevant advanced degree (Master's or Ph.D.) in a field such as ethics, philosophy, law, social sciences, or a related discipline;
- 5+ years of relevant experience in ethical review processes, research ethics advice, data protection, safeguarding or similar;
- Detailed knowledge and expertise in research ethics in general and/or substantive experience in the assessment of ethics issues. In addition, expertise in applicable law, data protection and privacy are required;
- Familiarity with the ALLEA European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity, as well as applicable international and national law, including the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the European Convention on Human Rights and its Supplementary Protocols;
- Project Management Experience: Familiarity with project management practices, including the ability to integrate ethical considerations into the project's overall management;
- Communication Skills: Strong written and verbal communication skills to effectively communicate ethical concerns, guidelines, and recommendations to project members, stakeholders, and the European Commission;
- Superior oral and written English; other languages would be an asset (such as German and/or French);
- Knowledge and prior experience in Democracy Support or Democracy Innovation are considered an asset.
The IEA will be remunerated with a maximum lump sum fee of EUR 8 000.00 inclusive of all expenses to be incurred for carrying out the activities. The amount includes VAT and any kind of taxes or social charges. The payments will be made in instalments based on the positive evaluation of the activities provided under this ToR, in the occasion of the reports submitted and accepted.
Deadline: 14 February 2024
Contact: [email protected]
Documentation: current professional CV and 3 project references
Only the selected candidate will be contacted.