As a governmental, tax-financed research council Formas is accountable to the general public for all of the work that is performed and also for how this work is carried out.
The Formas Ethical Policy and Ethical Guidelines are intended to provide guidance for all who participate in the activities of the research council: members of the Scientific Council, review panel members and employees of Formas. Everyone covered by our policies and guidelines are responsible for ensuring that their activities comply with these policies and guidelines.
The work performed by Formas and the various bodies of Formas (i.e. representatives of Formas) must be performed in a transparent, impartial and professional manner. Decisions shall be based on best scientific and professional practices, after taking all views into consideration. Submitted documents shall be processed impartially and in accordance with the Formas guidelines.
It is not possible to anticipate every individual situation and question that may arise with regard to the review of applications and the awarding of funding. It is therefore essential the members of the Formas Scientific Council, the various bodies within Formas and the employees of Formas discuss problems and are supported by certain common and general guidelines.
The ethical guidelines that steer the work of Formas are presented below. These are intended to provide guidance for everyone who participates in the activities of the research council: members of the Scientific Council, review panel members and Formas employees (hereafter referred to collectively as 'Members of the various bodies within Formas').
- Members of the various bodies within Formas have an official responsibility. Personal opinions or preferences must not impede an objective assessment of any matter concerning research funding, research priorities, strategies or appointments.
- Members of the various bodies within Formas must themselves evaluate and openly declare any associations that may be of importance to an impartial review of research grant applications or official matters. A high standard of personal integrity is expected.
- Members of the various bodies within Formas shall show respect for other researchers and their work. Disparaging statements and unfounded claims in written or oral form concerning research colleagues and research groups or their research work must not be made.
- Members of the various bodies within Formas shall promote scientific credibility by objectively reviewing applications and other official matters (i.e. all submitted documents). The review of applications and other official matters must be formulated objectively and fairly and must as objectively as possibly state the scientific strengths and weaknesses of the applicants and the application.
- Members of the various bodies within Formas are not permitted to make use of information provided by researchers via submission of applications or equivalent to benefit their own research or to provide scientific advantage for colleagues to the detriment of the operations of others.
- Members of the various bodies within Formas shall observe and comply with Swedish laws, EU regulations and other agreements ratified by Sweden. This applies to research and professional ethical regulations and legislation that has been established by other organisations (such as animal protection regulations, plant protection regulations, regulations concerning the spread of infection and regulations for transgenic organisms), as well as intellectual property and access issues.
- For applications that contain elements that require evaluation by an ethics review board, approval must be issued by the relevant board before the project can begin.
- Members of the various bodies within Formas should work to ensure that the research is performed in an ethically acceptable manner.
- Members of the various bodies within Formas shall be aware that the school of thought within their own scientific field may result in biased preconceptions towards different scientific approaches.
- Members of the various bodies within Formas must not participate in the review of applications or other official matters where close friendship, personal conflict or other animosities may exist. Reviews shall not be performed by researchers from the same department or, if the department is large, from the same section. Neither shall review panel members review applications submitted by their own doctoral students or visiting researchers/postdoctoral researchers.
- Close collaboration with colleagues shall also result in a panel member abstaining from reviewing the application. An absolute limit for when a collaboration with a previous doctoral student or colleague shall no longer be regarded to affect objectivity, of have a negligible effect, is impossible to determine. A general guideline may be 5 years after the collaboration has ended.
- The panel member in question must leave the meeting room when applications are discussed in which her/his impartiality can be called into question.
- When applications and official matters are assessed, the grounds for assessment must be the evaluation criteria as determined by Formas. The qualifications of the applicant must be considered in relation to the corresponding qualifications of other applicants. There must be no discrimination based on gender, race, ethnicity or other such grounds.
Members of the various bodies within Formas must work to ensure compliance with these guidelines.