The independence of ANSES and of the people taking part in its work is essential to the quality, legitimacy and credibility of its scientific expert appraisals. ANSES set up an ethics system on its founding, which went beyond its legal obligations. This applies to both its staff and external contributors, and covers the work carried out and the Agency's relations with interested parties.
Our ethical framework aims to ensure:
- our independence from private interests and pressure groups;
- transparency in our operations;
- our scientific credibility at national and international level;
- the robustness and impartiality of our scientific work: opinions, decisions, expert appraisals and the results of analyses, studies or research;
- an open, constructive dialogue with our supervisory ministries, society and the professionals concerned.
ANSES's Code of Ethical Standards
The ethical rules are defined in a dedicated code that applies to all ANSES staff and external contributors, and covers all the Agency's missions. It refers to the entire system implemented at the Agency, mainly:
- the analysis guide used to examine public declarations of interests;
- the roles of ethics officer, ethics adviser, scientific integrity adviser and whistleblower adviser;
- the right of ANSES employees and external contributors to raise alerts;
- the National Charter for Research Integrity and the National Charter for Expertise to which ANSES has signed up; the internal regulations defining the rules applicable to all ANSES employees;
- the rules in situations of multiple activities and when leaving to work in the private sector.
ANSES has developed other tools to complement this framework, such as the Guidelines for the analysis of intellectual ties (PDF in French) or the Charter of ethics for public procurement (PDF in French).
ANSES’s Ethics Officer
The Ethics Officer ensures that the system for declaring and preventing conflicts of interest is properly implemented.
- ensure that appropriate measures are taken to collect and analyse declarations of interests;
- propose the organisational measures necessary to ensure compliance with the obligation to report personal interests and prevent conflicts of interests;
- verify that the necessary measures are taken to prevent or stop any situation of conflict of interest.
To fulfil this role, the Ethics Officer calls on all the Agency's departments for support, and takes account of the opinions and recommendations of the Ethics Committee. The Ethics Officer reports annually on their activities to the General Directorate and the Board of Administrators.
Since 2016, ANSES's Director of Legal Affairs has been the Agency's Ethics Officer.
See the ANSES Ethics Officer's most recent activity report (PDF)
ANSES's role is to maintain the conditions of trust in all its scientific output. It must be constantly vigilant in its assessment, research, reference and observation missions, in order to produce high-quality data that meet the ethical and scientific integrity criteria it upholds, particularly by preventing any potential conflict of interest, but also by endeavouring to use data that meet these same criteria. As the Agency is both a producer and consumer of scientific knowledge, it is therefore necessary to demand the same high standards in both its assessment work and the results produced in its laboratories by its own teams, or in those derived from the research it funds in support of its missions.
The Committee for Ethical Standards and Prevention of Conflicts of Interest
On its founding, ANSES set up a Committee for Ethical Standards and Prevention of Conflicts of Interest, in order to guarantee the independence of its scientific expert appraisals. In accordance with the French Public Health Code, the Committee reaches decisions on compliance with the ethical principles applicable to the Agency, its staff and outside experts participating occasionally. It carries out its tasks in complete independence and can intervene in all ANSES's areas of activity.
Principles of collective expert appraisal
To assess health risks, ANSES implements collective scientific expert appraisals. The expert appraisal process relies on proven methods implemented by groups of experts with competence in the issues addressed.
To prevent risks of conflicts of interest, ANSES analyses the interests declared by experts before they are appointed and then throughout their work.
To ensure their quality and independence, ANSES's expert appraisals are:
- multidisciplinary: all the scientific skills needed to address the issue are brought together;
- collective: all the experts' different points of view are expressed in order to form a conclusion;
- adversarial: the various evidence is debated in light of the scientific knowledge and related uncertainties.
Public declarations of interests
The public declarations of interests (PDIs) help guarantee the principle of independence of the Agency's expert appraisals. PDIs are designed to identify any personal interests and prevent conflicts of interest. Any person contributing to ANSES's expert appraisal work is required to declare all personal interests, from their application to join an expert group through to the end of their mandate at ANSES.
Charter on relations with interested parties
In 2015, ANSES adopted a charter governing its relations with interested parties. Initially planned as part of the process to examine applications for plant inputs, the charter and associated register* underwent a major revision in 2020. The Charter now applies to all areas in which the Agency is required to take a decision, carry out an expert appraisal or issue a scientific opinion.
*ANSES is responsible for processing personal data in the register on relations with interested parties. Data are kept for a period of 5 years. In accordance with the provisions of Regulation (EU) 2016/679, known as the GDPR, and of the French Data Protection Act of 6 January 1978, as amended, persons listed in the register have the right to access, rectify, limit and, in certain cases, delete any information concerning them. For any questions, or to request access to your personal information: firstname.lastname@example.org