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The following comment refers to this/these guideline(s)

Guideline 3

Organisational responsibility of heads of research institutions

The heads of HEIs and non-HEI research institutions create the basic framework for research. They are responsible for ensuring adherence to and the promotion of good practice, and for appropriate career support for all researchers. The heads of research institutions guarantee the necessary conditions to enable researchers to comply with legal and ethical standards. The basic framework includes clear written policies and procedures for staff selection and development as well as for early career support and equal opportunity.


The head of each HEI and non-HEI research institution is responsible for ensuring that an appropriate organisational structure is in place at the institution. He or she makes certain that the tasks of leadership, supervision, quality assurance and conflict management are clearly allocated in accordance with the size of individual research work units and suitably communicated to members and employees.

With regard to staff selection and development, due consideration is given to gender equality and diversity. The relevant processes are transparent and avoid implicit bias as much as possible. Suitable supervisory structures and policies are established for early career researchers. Honest career advice, training opportunities and mentoring are offered to researchers and research support staff.

Organisational responsibility in the management of scientific institutions in the life sciences

As a rule, life science issues can only be addressed in teams with differentiated responsibilities. This means that researchers are expected to have acquired project management and cooperation skills at an early stage in their career. So it is vital for the institution to provide appropriate training opportunities and create the right environment. Access to high-quality infrastructure is often imperative when it comes to implementing research projects in the life sciences. This includes laboratories, research data infrastructures and access/links to biobanks or scientific collections centres for high-throughput sequencing using standardised data analysis systems, as well as central structures for ethical laboratory animal management and long-term outdoor testing areas.

In addition, organisational support structures are frequently required to enable compliance with legal or regulatory requirements. These include advice from animal welfare officers or data protection officers, links to excellence networks for clinical trials and access to expertise on aspects relevant to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The availability of quality management structures, public relations support, legal expertise and compliance officers at institutions can have a significant impact in terms of enabling high-quality research in the life sciences.

The comment belongs to the following categories:

GL3 (Life sciences)