Research involving work that could be potentially be misused

Potential misuse of research may be defined as: research involving or generating materials, methods or knowledge that could be misused for unethical purposes.

Areas of concern:

  • Research involving agents or equipment that could be directly misused for criminal or terrorist purposes: e.g. Does your research involve information on/or the use of biological, chemical, radiological and nuclear sensitive materials and explosives (CBRNE) or means of their delivery?
  • Research that creates knowledge that could be used for criminal or terrorist purposes: e.g. infrastructural vulnerability studies, cyber-security related research.
  • Research that can result in stigmatization and discrimination: e.g. Does your research involve the development of technologies or the creation of information that could have severe impacts on human rights standards if misapplied?

If your research proposal addresses one of the above-mentioned areas of concern, you must make a risk-assessment and take appropriate measures to avoid abuse.

Ethics Assessment – Information/documents to provide:

  • Details on the measures you intend to take to prevent abuse (including training of involved researchers); copies of researchers security clearances
  • Details on how your research could affect human rights and details on measures you intend to take to prevent this; copies of ethics approvals if applicable.

(Source: The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020: How to complete your ethics Self-Assessment. Version 1.0. 11 July 2014)