The Center for the Promotion of Science (CPN) is the SATORI project’s partner in Serbia. Contrary to the rest of the partners in the consortium Serbia, is not yet a full member of the EU and issues of ethics in research and innovation are just beginning to emerge on the agenda. In this article, Dubravka Vejnovic, SATORI project manager at CPN explains the challenge and the ambition of the project in Serbia.
What is the main point about SATORI that you want to present when you have the opportunity to talk about the project?
The main point I like to stress is that our project not only aims to improve respect of ethical principles and laws in research and innovation, but also to make sure that they are appropriately adapted to the development of new technologies. This is very challenging and momentous task having in mind the rapid evolution of various scientific fields and technologies. But, if our vision is to create and foster an ethically responsible society and to encourage research and innovation that will match people needs this is the crucial issue that has to be tackled.
What kind of reactions (questions) do you receive to your presentations?
As expected, it depends on type of stakeholders that the project is presented to. People from the industry are interested in implementing and improving CSR policies, cost-effectiveness and time needed for potential training. Scientists are most concerned about how the new ethics assessment framework will reflect on the research protocols, but they also show huge interest in improving the protection of research subject’s rights. On the other hand, policy makers want to know how effective are current laws and soft law instruments and what needs to be changed urgently.
Do you think the project is received differently by Serbian stakeholders than other European stakeholders that you have presented to, and why?
Yes, there is a noticeable difference. Compared to EU countries ethical issues in R&I in Serbia are recognized bit later. That is why some Serbian stakeholders are introduced to ethics assessment and guidance for the first time trough SATORI presentations.
First, you need to keep in mind that Serbia is not the member of EU, but from January 2014 is in process of negotiations for the membership. Second, Serbia is former socialist country, and it is still in an economic transition towards a market economy. During the 1990s the legal basis of ethical principles in medical scientific research and practice were more widely developed and implemented. CSR is becoming a part of business policy in companies that operate in Serbia, but ethics assessment practically does not exist. Furthermore, social and engineering research is not subjected to ethics assessment at all.
What are the ambitions of the CPN with the SATORI project?
Our ambition is to identify, point out the problems which constrain ethics assessment in Serbia, but also in other counties and finally to give recommendations of how to improve it. We believe that SATORI will make the biggest change in counties that recently started to recognize ethics assessment as inseparable part of research process and that we have a great potential of engaging different stakeholders.