Ethics Assessment in Different Countries. Austria

Wolfslehner, Doris and Griessler, ErichORCID: (2015) Ethics Assessment in Different Countries. Austria. Stakeholders Acting Together on the Ethical Impact Assessment of Research and Innovation - SATORI

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The aim of this report is to analyse the existing structures and agents for the ethical assessment of
research and innovation in Austria, both for the public and private sector. It analyses how the national
government has put into place organisational structures, laws, policies and procedures for ethical
assessment, how both publicly funded and private research and innovation systems address ethical
issues in research and innovation, and how ethical assessment plays a role in the activities of
professional groups and associations for research and innovation and of civil society organisations
(CSOs). Ethics assessment, as used in this report, not only refers to the field of biomedical research
and innovation, in which the term “ethics assessment” is traditionally used, but also to other fields in
which the balancing of risks and benefits is of importance.
In terms of methodology, the report is based on desk research and semi-structured interviews of at
least one stakeholder of each category of ethics assessor discussed in this report.
In order to avoid duplication and exploit synergies between projects that currently investigate different
aspects of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) within FP7 and Horizon 2020, the authors
decided after discussion with their respective coordinators to carry out a joint survey on ethics
assessment in Austria. They created a shared questionnaire that covered questions relevant for the Res-
AGorA and the SATORI project and carried out interviews with relevant experts. In this way it was
not only possible to avoid duplication but to gain additional and more detailed information. The
interviews were carried out by Erich Griessler from the Res-AGorA project (
In total 20 interviews were carried out. The largest part of them concerns the chair people of nonstatutory
ethics committees at Austrian universities (8). In addition interviews were carried out with
representatives of public and private research funding organisations, industry, government as well as
an agency dealing with research integrity. The interviews were recorded, fully transcribed and
analysed according to thematic analysis.

Item Type: Discussion/ Working Paper (Unspecified)
Keywords: ethics, ethics commissions, responsible research and innovation
Funders: European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2015 07:48
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2023 09:53

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