Implementing a European Train-the-trainers initiative with regard to Ethics and Research Integrity

With a view to addressing adequately the challenge of the internationalisation of research, including in the context of EU collaborations, it is necessary to strengthen the EU capacity to foster and promote the highest ethical standards and to achieve a higher degree of consistency of research integrity practices in Europe. In the latter regard, the Council, with its conclusions of 1st December 2015 on Research Integrity, invited the Member States and the Commission to support "training activities based on the "train-the-trainer" principle".


The participants are expected to develop innovative methods to train-the trainers on ethics and research integrity (such as training courses, workshops, a continuous support service to the trainers) based on consultation and the direct involvement of all relevant stakeholders representing both public and private structures (i.e. research intensive industries). These training methods should, in particular, promote the consistent application of the principles listed in the "European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity" developed by the European Science Foundation (ESF) and All European Academies (ALLEA).

The activities should aim at enhancing the training skills and improve existing methods at two levels:

(i) at the level of training the trainers, the different activities should mainly aim at:

  • enhancing the knowledge of the trainer with regard to ethics and research integrity issues. This will ensure the consistent application of EU research ethics and integrity standards while allowing for national particularities (national laws, cultural differences) to be taken into account;
  • allowing trainers to develop their training and interpersonal skills, such as their skill to understand the audience's needs and tailor the training accordingly, their ability to make lecture-based programmes more interactive and their ability to improve/enhance existing training methods. The use of innovative methods will foster the ethics and research integrity culture of the trainees and therefore will encourage them to depart from an approach of mere compliance with legal frameworks to a "virtue ethics approach" i.e. to embed ethics and integrity within the research design.

(ii) at the level of training the researchers, the different activities should mainly aim at:

  • the creation and regular update of ready to use learning/training material, such as slides, e-learning courses, videos, and using the social media as a training resource. Enhancing the impact of the training by the use of non-traditional forms (art, theatre) should be explored;
  • the creation and update of training material, which can be adapted for the needs of the targeted audiences; and
  • enhancing the researchers' understanding of the private and socio-economic benefits of the conduct of research according to the highest ethical and research integrity standards and of the negative impact of research misconduct on society, research institutions/research performers and on the researcher (e.g. in the form of "reputational damage").

The participants are expected to create an e-community/database (using the EU Commission tool SINAPSE hosted on the EU data centre), where all the training material/tools will be available. Moreover, the participants are expected to develop and submit plans that will ensure the long term viability (including financial sustainability) of the "train the trainers" activities and the update of the relevant training material/tools and the management of the e-community/database..

Overall, the action should aim at the training of a sufficient number of trainers in each Member State depending on the particular needs in each Member State.

In order to avoid duplication of work already undertaken and to allow for synergies among the relevant EU funded research projects (from FP7 and Horizon 2020), it is essential to ensure that the participants will cooperate and make use of all the publicly available results from the related funded projects, such as:

  • the PRINTEGER project (GARRI.5.2014 – "Ethics in Research: Promoting integrity");
  • "Estimating the costs of research misconduct and the socio-economic benefit of research integrity" (GARRI.9.2015);
  • the "European Ethics and Research Integrity Network" (GARRI.10.2015); and
  • "Mapping the Ethics and Research Integrity Normative Framework" (SwafS-16-2016).

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of the order of EUR 2.8 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

This action allows for the provision of financial support to third parties in line with the conditions set out in Part K of the General Annexes.

Expected Impact

It is expected that the present action will promote a higher degree of consistency of research integrity practices in Europe, will strengthen the research communities' capacity to respect the highest ethical standards and will enable researchers to adopt a "virtue ethics approach", i.e. to embed ethics and integrity within the research design.

Cross-cutting Priorities

  • Open Science
  • Open Innovation
Application date
Social sciences