The present Code is applied in all research and development activities which are conducted under the responsibility or with the participation of the scientific personnel of the Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens (BRFAA), either within or outside its premises, with or without funding.
Principles of Bioethics
Scientists conducting biomedical research should be informed about the principles of Bioethics and the specific requirements of ethics governing their field.
The BRFAA has the obligation to educate the researchers in the most expedient manner.
Any research in this field presupposes the approval of its protocol by the Bioethics Committee of the BRFAA.
Basic research principles
Research in Biology, Medicine and Biotechnology should be conducted with absolute respect to the scientific truth and the value of all human beings and natural environment. During research, any discrimination against citizens on grounds of nationality, race, ethnic origin, language, gender, personal life, religion, physical fitness or socioeconomic status should be avoided.
Value of research and independence of the researcher
Research is both a social and individual commodity. As a social commodity, research promotes human knowledge and innovation, contributing to the improvement of life quality and the social well-being. As an individual commodity, the process of research is inextricably associated with the freedom of researchers and in that sense also constitutes an individual commodity, which is constitutionally safeguarded. Researchers should take all necessary measures to protect research from any external political, ideological or other pressures and interventions.
Responsibility of the researcher
The researchers are restricted by the generally recognized principles of protection of human rights, of equality, of the protection of public health, of the protection of the child and vulnerable groups, as well as the protection of biodiversity. The researchers should ensure that the general public is properly informed.
The principal investigator of the research should
The principal investigator should under no circumstances use the research findings and/or conclusions for self-promotion or to present findings and/or conclusions of the research as his /her own work.
Any partial outsourcing of the research or any auxiliary research activities assigned to third parties shall be conducted under the responsibility and the supervision of the principal investigator of the study.
In case there is more than one researcher responsible for the study, each responsible researcher should also comply with all requirements of the present Code.
Obligations of partners
Research partners should exercise their research activity with the main objective of the expansion of scientific knowledge in the interests of society, in compliance with the legal provisions that govern research and the codes of ethics of the profession, including the current Code.
During the conduction of research, partners have the freedom of thought and expression of their opinion; they should, however, respect the limitations in this freedom, which are imposed for the organization and the guidance of research activity by the principal investigator of the study. The severe violation of the provisions of the present Code might result in researcher substitution.
Compliance with safety rules
The researchers should apply all recognized safety rules in the corresponding scientific field, as well as all rules that are specifically defined for the protection of humans, animals and the environment. In case that the compliance with safety rules is dependent upon an issue related to infrastructure / equipment, the researchers should inform the personnel in charge, so that the necessary measures will be immediately taken.
Research in human biologic material
Researchers conducting research in human biologic material are restricted by the principles of informed consent of the donor, and the protection of sensitive personal data that are collected and subjected to processing.
Embryo research is conducted solely to the extent strictly allowed by the law. Researchers are restricted by the principles of informed consent of gamete donors, and the protection of sensitive personal data that are collected and subjected to processing.
Laboratory animal research
Laboratory animal research should always be conducted in compliance with the principle of 3Rs (Reduction, Refinement, Replacement), so as to ensure the reduction of the number of animals used, the improvement of laboratory techniques and the living conditions of animals, so that they experience the lowest degree of pain or discomfort. The possibility of partial or complete substitution of laboratory animals by other media (in vitro or in silico) or other lower organisms, who have less developed nervous system and experience pain to a lower degree, such as plants, microorganisms and metazoan, should also be explored.
The researchers should comply with the principles governing clinical studies, including human behavioral studies, as detailed in relevant legislative ethics texts.
Principles of general application which should be carefully taken into consideration include, among others, those of informed consent, the protection of children and vulnerable groups, as well as the protection of personal data that are collected and processed.
Results of research
The design and the conduction of a research project should follow the rules of scientific evidence / documentation. The investigator and the research group in which he/she works are obliged to provide access to the BRFAA to all results derived from a particular research programme. The investigator should keep a complete archive of the progress and the results of a project, so that it will be possible to check the archive, while concomitantly safeguarding intellectual property rights. The arbitrary generation or falsification of research findings is a serious offence and shall be punished. The appropriation of results derived from the research effort of other researcher(s) of the same or different research unit should be also controlled and punished in accordance with the principles of protection of intellectual property rights.
Dissemination of knowledge
The BRFAA guarantees the dissemination of knowledge produced in the context of its activities to the international scientific community.
The BRFAA ensures the contribution of its researchers to the dissemination of knowledge to the public by any appropriate means and in a comprehensible and responsible manner.
Respect of intellectual property
During the conduction of their research, the researchers should take into account and by no means violate intellectual property rights of third parties.
The BRFAA, through its competent legal services, shall safeguard the intellectual property rights of the Foundation, as well as the protection of relevant rights of researchers with respect to results of studies conducted in the context of the activities of researchers within the Foundation.
The Bioethics Committee, which is a consultative / advisory body of the BRFAA, is appointed by the Board of Trustees of the Foundation, and its responsibilities are as follows:
Decisions of Bioethics Committee are taken by an absolute majority of members who are present after making every possible effort to achieve unanimity.
The Bioethics Committee may invite researchers to submit any document considered to be essential or to request the physical presence of researchers for clarifications / elucidations.
Complete this checklist before you start your research study.
Send the electronically completed and signed form to Dr. Olga Tzortzatou , BRFAA Legal Office
PRESIDENT: Michalis Stathopoulos, Professor-Academician
MEMBERS: Theodore Mountokalakis, Professor Emeritus
Athanasia Papalexandri, Professor
Dimitrios Thanos, President of the BRFAA Scientific Board
Olga Tzortzatou, PhD, Attorney at Law