As a part of the final conference for the NewHoRRIzon project, BISS team members hosted a session exploring what has been lost and what has been gained when it comes to the weight of ethical considerations in the European Commission’s framework programmes, specifically with regards to the upcoming transition from Horizon 2020 (2014-2020), to Horizon Europe (2021-2027).
In particular, the speakers were asked to focus on two seemingly concomitant shifts: the apparent decrease in emphasis with regards to the importance being placed upon ethical deliberation; as well as at the same time, an apparent increase in interest with regards to the democratic aspects of ethical processes through an increased attention to participative and deliberative approaches. Four expert panelists addressed these shifts from different perspectives, providing: a broad overview of the transition from Horizon 2020 to Horizon Europe, which pointed to some success in mainstreaming ethical principles; a specific example of ethical evaluations with regards to dual-use issues and military research, which asked what we can realistically expect from framework programmes in the first place; a discussion of some of the overarching strategic goals of EC policy packages since 2014, and the ways in which they have filtered down into specific policy instruments; and a critical reflection on the concept of participation, in terms of when, why, and how we participate. Some of the overarching themes included the framing and visibility of ethics across different framework programmes; the apparent disconnect between national and supranational levels (with regards to aims, outlooks, and approaches); and the importance of balancing optimism and skepticism when evaluating the successes and failures of European funding policies.
For more information on BISS’s involvement with NewHoRRIzon, click here.