The Committee for ethical standards
In order to guarantee the quality of its expertise, ANSES has an audit mechanism and a specific body, the Committee for ethical standards and prevention of conflicts of interests, which is responsible for dealing with particularly complex situations and evaluating choices which have been brought into question or raised doubts.
The Committee for ethical standards can intervene in the areas covered by collective expert assessment as well as in scientific and technical support, research applied to its missions, reference activities, surveillance, vigilance, training and public information initiatives.
Based on specific requests, it examines the way in which the Agency implements all of the principles, rules and procedures that it has established for itself with regard to compliance with its ethical standards for ensuring independent expertise.
The Committee for ethical standards and prevention of conflicts of interest issues opinions:
- on all issues concerning the breach of an ethical obligation it has been requested to handle;
- on all basic ethical topics. It issues general recommendations which may clarify certain practices or rules, and prevent non-compliance with independence requirements in expertise, by suggesting when necessary improvements to the applicable ethical standards;
- on the Agency’s basic rules with regard to the independence of its work, its partnership policy, and evolutions in ethical standards, etc.
- on special cases, as when a situation is particularly complex (determining the level of risk of a conflict of interest for an expert or employee and its possible consequences for participation in an expertise mission with regard to the affair in question).
The Committee for ethical standards and prevention of conflicts of interests is a significant innovation in ANSES's governance structure, which is defined in the Agency's founding charter. It can intervene in all circumstances and all stages of collective expert assessment from a formal request to an ANSES opinion.
The Committee for ethical standards and prevention of conflicts of interests can be petitioned by a member of the Board of Administration, of the Scientific Board, of the Scientific Panels or by the Director General or an ANSES employee.
It is empowered to collect all the necessary documents for its investigation and to hear third parties which might inform its decision.
The Committee has access to all the information the Agency possesses and the means necessary to function. It sends its opinions and recommendations to the petitioning individual or organisation as well as to the Agency's Board of Administration and Director General. The latter informs the Agency's supervisory ministries of this and makes the decisions necessary for deploying its Opinions and recommendations.
The Committee for ethical standards and prevention of conflicts of interest is made up of 7 members, all with acknowledged expertise and experience in ethical matters:
- Pierre Le Coz, Chairman of ANSES’s Committee for ethical standards and prevention of conflicts of interests, Professor of philosophy and Director of the Human and social sciences department of the Marseille College of medicine.
- Marie-Caroline Beer, Inspector General of the national education and research administration
- Isabelle Doussan, Research Director at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) ;
- Gabrielle Bouleau, sociologist, scientific deputy director of IRSTEA’s Land Use Department;
- Doctor Jean-Michel Heard, Research Director at the National Institute of Health and Medical Research, Laboratory Director at the Institut pasteur
- Marie-Angèle Hermitte, Honorary research director at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), Honorary studies director at the College for advanced studies in the social sciences (EHESS)
- Claire Sabbagh, Agrégation degree-holder, Honorary research engineer
These individuals have been appointed for five years by the Ministerial Orders 11 April 2016, 8 September 2017, 14 December 2018 and 20 September 2019 for the Committee’s term of office (5 years with effect from 11 April 2016), and are unable to participate in any of the Agency’s other bodies or activities.
The public declarations of members of ANSES’s Board of Administration are currently available through two websites: