Introduction 

The Norwegian National Committee for Research Ethics in Science and Technology (NENT) refers to a communication from the University of Bergen (UiB) of 9 January 2014 about petroleum research. The letter from the University refers to the broad debate on petroleum research in the Norwegian media and at a number of institutions in the last 12 months. The debate at UiB was triggered by the signing of the Academia agreement between Statoil and UiB in 2013, and the signing of similar agreements at several other universities has also generated discussion. In the debate reference has been made to the Guidelines for Research Ethics in Science and Technology developed by NENT. Questions have been raised as to whether research funded by means of Academia agreements will prolong the oil age, and claims have been made that this would thereby contravene several of the guidelines. In this context UiB has requested NENT to “review the various issues and assess the different perspectives and, if appropriate, advise the university and other research institutions on whether research on petroleum and other technologies for the extraction of petroleum are defensible from the research ethics perspective” (UiB 9 January 2014).

NENT is an advisory, independent body for research ethics within science and technology. The committee’s work is regulated by the Ethics Research Act.[1] NENT shall provide advice and recommendations in specific cases submitted to the committee and shall promote a well-informed public debate on research ethics. 

The wide-ranging debate that has taken place at research institutions and in the media indicates that the issues raised by the case generate considerable public interest. NENT wishes to give credit to the individual researchers at UIB and the student groups who drew attention to the matter, and to the University’s leadership who have taken it further. For its part NENT has chosen to raise the issue at the national level. As part of the documentation base NENT has therefore requested the universities to provide information about their collaboration with the petroleum industry, including an overview of the extent and conditions of the collaboration and what assessments the universities have conducted. Information has also been acquired from funding bodies such as Statoil, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, the Ministry of Education and Research and the Research Council of Norway.

NENT’s assessment is intended to contribute to a broad public debate on petroleum research at Norwegian universities today with particular emphasis on collaboration with the petroleum industry where Statoil’s Academia programme constitutes one of several components. NENT’s assessment of petroleum research cuts across the divide between basic and applied research.

UiB’s request was discussed at committee meetings on 22 January, 28 April and 2 June 2014. At the meeting on 22 January, committee member Lise Øvreås was declared to be partial and has not taken part in the processing of the case.

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NENT’s assessment

Research ethics

A wide-ranging national and international debate on research ethics is currently taking place, and since both society and research change over time research ethics must be characterized as dynamic. The assessment of research ethics that follows is primarily based on the Guidelines for Research Ethics in Science and Technology (2007), developed by NENT.[2]

The field of research ethics is composed of many elements and does not simply concern conditions for the production of reliable knowledge. Research ethics also concerns relations among researchers, the treatment of participants and animals as well as the social responsibility of research. The Guidelines for Research Ethics in Science and Technology attempt to cover all these elements for everyone engaged in research activity.

The issues raised in this case mainly affect the standards related to the social responsibility of research. NENT is of the opinion that in particular guideline 2 dealing with sustainable development and guideline 11 about the precautionary principle are applicable. These guidelines are further considered in connection with the guidelines on the independence and openness of research, in particular guidelines 19 and 20.

The Guidelines for Research Ethics in Science and Technology not only address individuals and institutions that conduct research but also bodies influencing research and the consequences of research. Thus, the responsibility for safeguarding the ethical aspects of research rests in particular with the research institutions and the funding authorities. NENT’s opinion is also directed towards bodies other than the research institutions.

Independence

Independence is a basic goal in research. At the same time, extensive collaboration with public and private actors is regarded as an important part of the universities’ social responsibility. Nevertheless, far-reaching cooperation with individual actors or sectors may pose a challenge with regard to safeguarding the principles of free and independent research. Such cooperation may lead to conflicts of interest and create uncertainty about conditions of significance for research results. It is the responsibility of leadership at the institutions to ensure that consideration for cooperation partners in the public sector or in the private business sector does not take precedence over academic freedom and critical thinking.

In this connection NENT wishes to emphasize the importance of openness regarding external affiliations and of the researcher’s clarifying his/her role in any discussion (cf. guideline 20 (c) in the Guidelines for Research Ethics in Science and Technology). Openness can make it easier for individual researchers to guard against pressure from funding sources, thus ensuring independence. In the long term openness can also secure trust in the research.

NENT has attempted to form a picture of the scope of Norwegian petroleum research. As might be expected, such research is comprehensive. Since the growth of Norwegian petroleum research activities from the early 1970s, contributing to the development of efficient and as far as possible safe petroleum extraction has been viewed as an important research task, e.g. through research on geology, diving at great depths, underwater technology etc.

Strong guiding principles are in place for continued investment in petroleum research in Norway. The ministries allocate relatively substantial funding to petroleum research – a total of approximately NOK 600 million annually, not least via the petroleum programmes under the Research Council of Norway. At the same time, policymakers have sought to achieve a balance in energy research. The 2008 political agreement on Norway’s climate policy incorporated an ambition that public funding for new renewable energy sources from 2010 onwards should reach at least the same level as public funding for petroleum research, and this target appears to have been achieved.[3] However, increased investment in renewable energy cannot necessarily compensate for increased investment in petroleum research. The relationship between petroleum research and renewable energy research has significance in the assessment of research ethics, but the total investment towards petroleum research must also be assessed.

Statoil is by far the dominating actor in the Norwegian petroleum industry. In a letter of 18 February to NENT, Statoil states that its research budget for 2014 totals NOK 3 billion, half of which is externally-funded research. Norwegian institutions receive approximately NOK 270 million of this external funding, with the Academia agreements amounting to roughly NOK 85 million per year. The bulk of the research funded by Statoil is commissioned research targeting defined issues. In other words, the Academia agreements that triggered the debate constitute only a small proportion of Statoil’s research budget and amount to no more than one-third of Statoil’s overall collaboration with research institutions in Norway, which receive considerable more research funding via public channels than from Statoil.

As part of the work to clarify how the university’s research activity is affected by the collaboration with the petroleum industry, NENT asked the universities to account for the conditions for this collaboration and what strategic assessments of research policy and research ethics the universities have based these conditions on. The replies from the universities confirm the existence of a relatively comprehensive collaboration with the petroleum industry. However, acquiring a good overview has proved difficult since the collaboration is stipulated in the various agreements on individual projects with the issues defined by the client. Framework agreements such as the Academia agreements are clearer since the overarching framework conditions are laid down, and the research questions are decided by a steering committee including representatives of both Statoil and the university. In general the universities emphasize the importance of ensuring that the universities’ research and education and the special interests of business sector actors are independent of each other. Universities fulfil one of their social tasks insofar as the business sector secures adequate competence development while research resulting from the work is in accordance with the universities’ priority areas.

Nonetheless, the role of the universities as knowledge providers for society is somewhat problematic in this context. NENT finds it striking that the universities do not reflect to a greater extent on their own role in possibly preserving the status quo through their collaboration with the petroleum industry. In that connection the committee finds that there is a lack of thematic focus on overarching questions related to the university’s response to knowledge challenges when it comes to current energy and climate realities. What are the main knowledge challenges we face and how shall we meet them? Do universities as a body contribute to the continuing development of today’s society or are they proactive in distorting the development? What place should research that helps prolong the oil age have at the research institutions? Does collaboration with the petroleum industry tie up intellectual capacity and competence to an excessive degree over time? Does petroleum-financed research help legitimize the attitude that there is no urgency as regards change?

NENT has no answer to these questions but is of the opinion that in light of the comprehensive collaboration with the petroleum industry, it is important that the universities are aware of their responsibility as knowledge producers. NENT sees a danger that such overarching questions fall between two stools whereby the universities for example may stress that the issue of petroleum research is a political question while the political level in the ministries may emphasize the academic freedom of the research institutions.

NENT believes that in light of their comprehensive collaboration with the petroleum industry the universities should be more aware of their responsibility as knowledge producers in a landscape characterized by conflicts of interest. In that connection the committee calls for more profound reflection by the universities on their possible role in conserving the status quo through their collaboration with the petroleum industry.

Openness

Openness about the research and the role of the researcher shall contribute to scientific quality assurance (cf. guideline 19 in Guidelines for Research Ethics in Science and Technology). It shall also help ensure greater confidence in the independence and reliability of the research results (cf. guideline 20 in Guidelines for Research Ethics in Science and Technology). Not least openness can promote a broad public debate on research and technological development. NENT has the view that the latter point in particular should be in focus in this matter. It is not a question of some actors preventing openness or of there being reason to believe that openness is not adequately secured in agreements with the industry and in publication of the research results. The agreements reviewed by the committee satisfy general requirements that research findings as a main rule shall be made accessible to other researchers as well as to the general public (cf. guideline 19 (b) and (c) in the Guidelines for Research Ethics in Science and Technology). The importance of the issue for the general public as well as its scope and complexity instead demand additional preventive efforts to create openness and an overview of the scope and significance of petroleum research, including relevant economic conditions (cf. guideline 20 (a) in the Guidelines).

The replies from the universities indicate that they themselves do not have an overview of what proportion petroleum research constitutes of the university’s total research investment and capacity. Greater openness ensures debate on the informal ties that arise. Even though Academia agreements for example give little direction for academic activity, the goodwill arising from such framework agreements can reduce openness and hinder critical voices. NENT believes that the clause in the Academia agreement stating that institutions shall “make active efforts to give positive publicity to the work carried out under the agreement” exemplifies this.

NENT points to the lack of a coordinated overview of funding for petroleum research in Norway today. The committee recommends that to a greater degree the universities help promote openness and an overview of the scope and importance of petroleum research and research on a transition to sustainable energy.

Sustainability

A key question in the case is whether the collaboration between the research institutions and the petroleum industry contributes to or impedes sustainable development. Guideline 2 of the Guidelines for Research Ethics in Science and Technology states that:

Research must be in accordance with sustainable development and respect for

the environment. This entails that research should e.g. promote conservation of biodiversity and be in accordance with the Precautionary Principle. Caution should be exercised when conducting research that might have serious consequences for the environment or for humans, even though the existence of these possible threats has not been completely established with certainty.

NENT assumes that there is broad agreement that sustainability and respect for the environment are key objectives for research. The 1987 Report of the World Commission on Environment and

Development: Our Common Future defines sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.[4] The concept of sustainability as defined in the report Our Common Future and as understood today embodies a broad definition of responsibility. Firstly, the concept incorporates economic and social aspects in addition to ecological dimensions. Secondly, sustainability includes a responsibility towards coming generations who represent a particularly vulnerable group since our decisions and actions will have a great impact on their lives while they are not represented when our decisions are taken. In the context, this entails that assessments linked to sustainability should include ecological, economic and social aspects as well as the long-term consequences of petroleum research.

The principle of sustainability is of prime importance because Norway and the rest of the world face great energy and environmental challenges. In the 19th and 20th centuries fossil fuel has been the most important source of energy globally, and the extraction of petroleum is closely linked to the development of prosperity in Norway. The demand for energy is increasing worldwide. However, strong grounds indicate that there must be a transition towards greater investment in renewable energy. Firstly, the energy stored in fossil reserves is limited. Even if new reserves of petroleum and gas are discovered and increased extraction is possible using new technology, the reserves will be depleted in the not-so-distant future. Secondly, it is widely agreed that continued investment in fossil fuel will have serious and irreversible consequences for people and the environment. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes in its first sub-report in the fifth assessment report on climate that there is a 95 per cent certainty that man-made emissions of climate gases have caused most of the observed global temperature increase since the mid-1900s.[5] The second sub-report describes the more detailed impacts of the changes on people and the environment. According to the report climate changes resulting from the emissions will have serious consequences including for basic resources such as food and water. Unpredictable access to water and diminished food safety will in turn lead to an increase in poverty, migration and political unrest.[6]

Through international negotiations Norway has pledged to uphold the 2º C target. The International Energy Agency has established that if the world is to reach the climate goal of limiting global warming to two degrees globally, two-thirds of the world’s coal, petroleum and gas must remain in the ground.[7] The recommendations of the most recent sub-report from the IPCC indicate that an even greater proportion of the known fossil fuel reserves must remain in the ground.[8] On this basis it is clear that a transition to sustainable energy must take place. The question of petroleum research and sustainability in this context is specifically a question of whether collaboration between research institutions and the petroleum industry will pose an obstacle to a transition to renewable energy, or whether the collaboration can form part of the transition process.

Assessing the extent to which a given research and technology investment is sustainable is a complex task since a thorough assessment must incorporate a diversity of economic, social and environmental aspects which can point in contradictory directions. Another complicating factor is that the various elements of the concept are linked to different ethical principles [j1] affecting how these are to be understood and emphasized. In the following the committee will refer to a number of the arguments that have been put forward in the debate and in the input submitted to NENT simply to demonstrate the diverse understanding of what sustainability means in the assessment of petroleum research in particular.

  • “The extraction of petroleum and gas from the Norwegian continental shelf is important for Norwegian society and secures global access to energy. Petroleum research is important in relation to value creation and welfare in Norway and to oil supply security globally” (Ministry of Petroleum and Energy 14 April 2014).
  • “The assessments of research ethics linked to the extraction and consumption of petroleum resources concern the fact that in the unforeseeable future the world will be dependent on petroleum resources, especially if the desired development in welfare in less affluent parts of the world is to be achieved” (UiO 28 March 2014).
  • “At the same time, petroleum-related research is necessary to achieve the least possible strain on the environment both in the production and consumption of petroleum and gas and to comply with safety requirements” (Ministry of Petroleum and Energy 14 April 2014).
  • “Norway is the second largest supplier of gas to the European energy market and can play a significant role in reducing future CO2 emissions. Therefore it is vital to conduct research on areas that can enable Statoil and the industry to secure the most defensible and efficient exploitation of the natural resources” (Statoil 18 February 2014).
  • “Petroleum research has a high transfer value to other research areas that the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and others are engaged in” (NTNU 11 March 2014).
  • “Oil production and exploration by Statoil and other companies on the Norwegian continental shelf will in all likelihood not decline significantly even though Norwegian universities cease carrying out petroleum research. Statoil’s technology is based on the company’s own research centre and on a wide range of cooperative partners that also includes research institutions and universities worldwide” (Knut Bjørlykke in the Norwegian research journal Forskerforum 4 April 2014).
  • “A cost-benefit analysis must also include the cost of climate changes. This cost will affect both the world’s common subsistence base and the lives of people across the planet” (Fossil free UiB, Green student alliance UiO, Fossil free money Trondheim and various groups at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NBMU) 23 March 2014).

The world today is largely dependent on petroleum as a source of energy and we may reasonably assume that should this source be cut off, the result will be considerable and immediate negative economic and social consequences. In addition, the environmental consequences may be serious because more environmentally friendly alternatives or alternatives that can satisfy current energy needs have not yet been developed. Petroleum-related research therefore has a role to play in the transition process.

Based on the premise that the world will be dependent on petroleum resources in the unforeseeable future, many of the arguments put forward in the debate are valid. Nonetheless, NENT believes that in view of their responsibility to society the universities must question a number of the premises put forward. In the long term it is clear that a strong dependence on petroleum is not sustainable either when considering how to deal with global environmental challenges or how to satisfy future energy needs. This means that adequate capital and resources must be ensured for university research into future-oriented and sustainable energy sources.

NENT’s opinion is that achieving the goal of sustainability requires a transition to sustainable energy and knowledge development. Research funding authorities and research institutions are ascribed a special responsibility in this connection while the universities have a specific responsibility in their role as knowledge bearers. Petroleum research still has a role to play in the transition process, for example by establishing a defensible balance between research on various energy sources in which the key constituents are research on renewable energy and on how negative impacts on the ecology can be reduced. NENT has the view that the focus should not primarily be directed to the individual research project.

The precautionary principle 

The precautionary principle is included in several international environmental agreements starting with the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development of 1992. The principle has also had a considerable impact on Norwegian legislation and governance. It can be understood as an integrated part of the principle of sustainable development. The principle covers risk assessments and provides a strategy for taking justified action. The goal is to safeguard against serious and irreversible harm. Guideline 11 of the Guidelines for Research Ethics in Science and Technology describes the precautionary principle as principle of research ethics stating that:

In cases where plausible, yet uncertain information exists that the use of technology or the development of a certain research field might lead to ethically unacceptable consequences for health, society or the environment, researchers within the given field must strive to provide information that is relevant for using the Precautionary Principle. This entails that the researcher must cooperate with other relevant parties when using the Precautionary Principle. The Precautionary Principle is here defined in the following manner: “When human activities may lead to morally unacceptable harm that is scientifically plausible but uncertain, actions shall be taken to avoid or diminish that harm.” This principle is important for large parts of scientific research, and researchers are co-responsible for facilitating deliberations regarding the Precautionary Principle.

The situation we face when it comes to global challenges in the energy and environmental field is precisely an extraordinary situation where the precautionary principle should be applied. Fossil fuel is the key source of emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, and there is broad scientific agreement that climate changes resulting from these emissions will produce serious and irreversible consequences for present and future generations. In this field the complexity of climate systems and natural variations indicate that not all uncertainty can be reduced. Uncertainty in current climate research is mainly linked to the scope of climate changes and much less to whether such changes will occur.

The precautionary principle requires vigorous action. On the general level the principle demands assessment of risk and also, if appropriate, an evaluation of how the risk can be minimized. In conformity with the guidelines, researchers have a joint responsibility to pave the way for assessments in relation to the precautionary principle. The prime responsibility is to assist the acquisition of knowledge about such a transition to sustainable energy and to communicate relevant assessments linked to uncertainty and risk to political decision-makers and the general public.

NENT affirms that the precautionary principle must be applied. The goal of sustainability and the precautionary principle require vigorous action to promote a transition even though there is uncertainty regarding serious future environmental consequences.

Responsibility in a transition process 

On the background of the principles of independence, openness, sustainability and precaution, NENT concludes that the present situation demands new forms of processes and assessments with regard to research funding bodies and the research institutions. The goal of sustainable development, and the application of the precautionary principle in particular, requires participation by the research community as well as by the political authorities and the business sector. In the following, NENT will focus especially on the responsibilities of the research institutions and the state funding bodies. These actors have a unique social responsibility. The committee underscores that all research that takes place under public and private sector auspices must follow recognized ethical standards (cf. Research Ethics Act, section1).

NENT has requested the funding authorities and the universities to describe what assessments they carry out in relation to their social responsibility in this connection. The question addressed to the universities was: “What assessments has the university carried out with regard to its responsibility in relation to the major energy and environmental challenges we are facing?” (NENT 4 February 2014). The same question, slightly reworded, was submitted to the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy and to the Ministry of Education and Research, which are the two state bodies that grant the most funding to petroleum research annually.  

In the view of NENT, the answers indicate we are facing a real risk of fragmentation of responsibility in this field. The challenges confronting us are of a collective nature. Many actors with partly differing understandings of their roles are involved, and the causal connections are intricate. The result may be that no one really assumes responsibility. For example, the Ministry of Education and Research states the following: “In view of the wide latitude that the university and university colleges are given to administer their broad social mission themselves, the Ministry assumes that these institutions assess their own strategy on how their professional activities are to be adapted to the major social challenges – including energy and environmental challenges” (Ministry of Education and Research (KD 14 April 2014). NENT concurs that it is relevant to point to the universities’ academic freedom when their responsibility is discussed. But the universities’ freedom and independence do not thereby entail that state funding authorities need not be involved. The political platform of the current government states that policies will be built on the precautionary principle.[9] The application of the precautionary principle not only demands research expertise but also the contribution of political decision-makers. The committee would like to see a greater degree of reflection on the part of the ministries regarding how the precautionary principle can be employed in practice in the situation we are currently facing. Moreover, NENT deems it a challenge that there has been little development of institutional parameters for the transition to sustainable energy that can secure such coordination and clarify what priorities are set. The research funding institutions must assume responsibility for the coordination of research in the field. Prioritizations in relation to research into the various energy sources must be communicated openly.

The universities for their part assume that the guiding principles embodied in the grants given by the state authorities have been the subject of ethical assessments: “As a university we assume that the research that different governments have promoted through policy instruments such as grants and prioritizations has also been the subject of ethical and social assessments on the part of the decision-makers” (UiB 25 February 2014).  It is further pointed out that: “In the further debate it is important to hear the views of the large petroleum actors themselves on these ethical dilemmas” (NTNU 11 March 2014). The fact that others have a responsibility does not exempt the universities from making their own independent assessments.

NENT believes it is important that the research institutions to the greatest possible degree facilitate good processes ensuring thorough, independent assessments that incorporate ethical aspects of research prior to taking key strategic decisions such as entering into long-term cooperation with the petroleum industry. The committee notes that the universities to a considerable degree answer that they assist the business sector by providing the knowledge base that the sector requires. In practice this is like navigating in accordance with a notion that the world in the unforeseeable future will be dependent on petroleum resources. However, the considerable energy and environmental challenges we are facing demand new ideas, interdisciplinary analyses, knowledge development and assessments of social ethics.

The universities have a key role to play as both a driving force for the transition to sustainable energy and as a knowledge provider. As a driving force the universities must push for greater focus on priority areas that can contribute to such a transition in their cooperation with the petroleum industry. The universities have a special responsibility to produce knowledge that can benefit the whole of society. As knowledge providers they must make provision for the generation of fresh knowledge relating to a transition to sustainable energy and for the dissemination of the results. The universities must ensure that policymakers reach decisions on the best possible basis. The transition to an era of less dependence on non-renewable energy and of greater exploitation of renewable energy will have wide-ranging social, economic and ecological consequences. In the transition process it is vital to promote the growth of interdisciplinary expertise and to acquire knowledge about the social and economic consequences of processes involving adaptation to climate change.

NENT sees a real danger of a vacuum of responsibility. The energy and environmental challenges we face are collective and are concerned with how all actors collaborate. The research funding bodies have a great responsibility since they must ensure that priority is given to research that contributes to a transition to sustainable energy, and they must make greater efforts to coordinate Norwegian research in this field. The universities must provide fresh knowledge in the transition process and must be a driving force for transition by pushing for a focus on priority areas that can promote such a transition in their cooperation with the petroleum industry.

Summary and conclusion

UiB has requested NENT to “review the various issues and assess the different perspectives and, if appropriate, advise the university and other research institutions on whether research on petroleum and other technologies for the extraction of petroleum are defensible from the point of view of research ethics.”

NENT has obtained input from relevant actors in order to make a recommendation that is particularly addressed to universities in Norway. NENT bases its assessment of Norwegian petroleum research on the Guidelines for Research Ethics in Science and Technology with emphasis on the guidelines dealing with sustainable development and the precautionary principle. These are considered in connection with the guidelines on the independence and openness of research.

National and global goals for sustainability require a transition to sustainable energy and the development of expertise and technological development that contributes to this and elucidates the social aspects.

NENT believes that in light of their comprehensive collaboration with the petroleum industry the universities should be more aware of their responsibility as knowledge producers in a landscape characterized by conflicts of interest. In that connection the committee calls for more profound reflection by the universities on their possible role in conserving the status quo through their collaboration with the petroleum industry.

NENT points to the lack of a coordinated overview of funding for petroleum research in Norway today. The committee recommends that the universities help promote to a greater degree ofopenness and an overview of the scope and importance of petroleum research and research on a transition to sustainable energy.

NENT’s opinion is that achieving the goal of sustainability requires a transition to sustainable energy and knowledge development. Research funding authorities and research institutions are ascribed a special responsibility in this connection while the universities have a specific responsibility in their role as knowledge bearers. Petroleum research still has a role to play in the transition process, for example by establishing a defensible balance between research on various energy sources in which the key constituents are research on renewable energy and on how negative impacts on the ecology can be reduced. NENT has the view that the focus should not primarily be directed to the individual research project.

NENT affirms that the precautionary principle must be applied. The goal of sustainability and the precautionary principle require vigorous action to promote a transition even though there is uncertainty regarding serious future environmental consequences.

NENT sees a real danger of a vacuum of responsibility. The energy and environmental challenges we face are collective and are concerned with how all actors collaborate. The research funding bodies have a great responsibility since they must ensure that priority is given to research that contributes to a transition to sustainable energy, and they must make greater efforts to coordinate Norwegian research in this field. The universities must provide fresh knowledge in the transition process and must be a driving force for transition by pushing for a focus on priority areas that can promote such a transition in their cooperation with the petroleum industry.

NENT is of the opinion that it is indefensible from a research ethics perspective if the framework conditions for petroleum research and research activities hinder transition processes and thus prevent the achievement of UN climate goals which Norway has pledged to uphold.

NENT wishes to follow up UiB’s initiative and the ongoing debate by hosting an open meeting in the autumn of 2014. Representatives of the universities and funding bodies are invited to discuss further how the various actors in the field best can contribute to the transition to sustainable energy which it is widely agreed must be initiated.

On behalf of the National Committee for Research Ethics in Science and Technology,

 

Øyvind Mikkelsen                                         Helene Ingierd

Committee chair, NENT                               Director, NENT


[1] Act on Ethics and Integrity in Research

[2] NENT bases its assessment of whether the research can be characterized as unethical on its Guidelines for Research Ethics in Science and Technology (2007) as well as on the Research Ethics Act whose purpose is “to ensure that research carried out by public and private institutions is conducted in accordance with recognized ethical standards” cf. section1. The preparatory works discuss to a very limited extent what is meant by “recognized ethical standards”, but a comment on section 1 of Proposition no. 58, 2005-2006 to the Odelsting, p. 61, states: “By ‘recognized ethical standards’ is meant the different standards and statutory and non-statutory rules and guidelines that are of significance for research. It is the responsibility of committees and commissions themselves to define on an professional basis what standards and rules shall be applied.”

[3] http://www.regjeringen.no/nb/dep/kld/dok/regpubl/stmeld/2011-2012/meld-st-21-2011-2012/11/4.html?id=683013

(Downloaded 3 June 2014).

[4] http://www.un-documents.net/our-common-future.pdf (Downloaded 3 June 2014).

[5] http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg1/ (Downloaded 16 June 2014).

[6] http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg2/ (Downloaded 16 June 2014)

[7] http://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/English.pdf (Downloaded 16. juni 2014).

[8] http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg3/ (Downloaded 16 June 2014).

[9] http://www.regjeringen.no/pages/38500565/plattform.pdf (Downloaded 3 June 2014).


 [j1]value perspectives