Joint Committee on the Handling of Security-Relevant Research

In June 2014 (Revision November 2022) the DFG and the Leopoldina published a set of jointly developed recommendations, "Scientific Freedom and Scientific Responsibility - Recommendations on Handling Security-Relevant Research". In this publication the DFG and the Leopoldina offered to establish a joint advisory panel to support the effective and permanent implementation of the recommendations. The "Joint Committee on the Handling of Security-Relevant Research" held its inaugural meeting on 13 February 2015 and, with the agreement of the DFG executive committee, started work on 18 March 2015 for an initial period of three years.

The task of the DFG and Leopoldina Joint Committee on the Handling of Security-Relevant Research is to support the effective and permanent implementation of the recommendations from the DFG and the Leopoldina on "Scientific Freedom and Scientific Responsibility". The Committee should monitor and pro-actively expedite the implementation status at research institutions as well as supporting institutions in the proper implementation of the recommendations, for instance through the creation of model texts. This applies in particular to the establishment of the Commissions for Ethics in Research (KEF [German acronym]) as outlined in the recommendations. These should ideally be implemented at all research institutions by 2017.

During the set-up phase of the KEFs, the Joint Committee will act as a contact point for questions and as a platform where institutions can share their experiences. The responsibility for individual cases under discussion should lie with the research institutions where the work is being carried out. In special cases which cannot be adequately appraised by the KEFs, the Leopoldina can deploy ad hoc Working Groups with the necessary specialist expertise, which can carry out a risk-benefit assessment in close collaboration with the Joint Committee.

Furthermore, the Joint Committee must also observe developments in security-relevant research in Germany, identify areas where action is potentially required and advise the Leopoldina and the DFG on the issues. If necessary, committee members will take part in public discussions. In order to focus attention on the issue in the long term, the Committee should organise regular symposia on the subject "Scientific Freedom and Scientific Responsibility".

Contact at the Leopoldina

Contact at DFG Head Office

Mailbox Security-Relevant Research
Dr. Ingrid Ohlert
Telephone: +49 (228) 885-2258