As part of Work Package 8, the project consortium has set out the ‘ethics requirements’ that the project complies with. Throughout the project lifetime, the compliance of all project activities with ethical aspects was assessed, guaranteed and documented. Ethical aspects that affect MetaFluidics pertain GMO manipulation and biosafety, animal experimentation, access and benefit sharing (ABS) to environmental samples and storing of personal data.
Gender equality is a cross-cutting issue in Horizon 2020 and in the MetaFluidics consortium, the European Commission’s efforts to increase women’s participation in research programmes have been carefully considered.
From the MetaFluidics members, 3 of the 7 WP leaders are female (43%); 5 of the 13 PIs are female scientists (38%), 3 of which are from industry. These figures already represent an improvement from current figures for female PhD graduates. In line with the effort of promoting gender equality as a target of the Europe 2020 initiative, we will enforce equal opportunity enrolment for the new contracts envisioned in MetaFluidics in compliance with the European Charter for Researchers.
Gabrielle Potocki-Veronese from partner INSAT has been acting as the gender equality champion and has been responsible for managing MetaFluidics in an inclusive way, paying particular attention to the recruitment, role and involvement of young female researchers in the consortium and offering advice for future career development after involvement in MetaFluidics.
3. Open Access
In line with the European Commission’s recommendations and in order to contribute to a wider dissemination of the scientific results, all the Metafluidics partners have opted for the “gold” open-access model.
As soon as possible and at the latest on publication, we will deposit a machine-readable electronic copy of the published version or final peer-reviewed manuscript accepted for publication in a repository for scientific publications. Moreover, each beneficiary will deposit the research data needed to validate the results presented in the deposited scientific publications. Each beneficiary will ensure open access to the deposited publication — via the repository — at the latest on publication or within six months of publication. Open access will also be provided to the bibliographic metadata that identify the deposited publication.
4. Public Engagement & Science Education
The MetaFluidics consortium intends to share the knowledge generated during the project lifetime with a wide variety of stakeholders and the different communication tools are tailored to each target audience. More specifically, the target audiences include:
- Specialized audiences: industrial science students in workshops, researchers and scientists in partner universities and research centres, standardization actors in the field of metagenomics. For more details about training activities organised during the project lifetime, please check the ‘Training Activities’ page on our website.
- End users: e.g. the food and agricultural sectors, the green bioenergy conversion sector, the health sector, the biocatalysis sector in the pharma and fine chemical industries, etc.
- The general public (of all ages, genders and backgrounds)
First, sharing and promoting MetaFluidics news and events through social media tools, press releases and the present website are an excellent way to engage the community, create awareness about the project and the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme. The MetaFluidics partners have also organised and participated in various outreach events.
In particular, MetaFluidics was selected to take part in ESOF (EuroScience Open Forum) 2018 in Toulouse, whose motto was ”Sharing Science: towards new horizons”. ESOF is the largest interdisciplinary science meeting in Europe. It is dedicated to scientific research and innovation and offers a unique framework for interaction and debate for scientists, innovators, policy makers, business people and the general public. For more information about ESOF: https://www.esof.eu/en/
MetaFluidics ran a scientific session entitled “Going to Extremes”, which conveyed the impact of extremophile research on society, e.g. through the development of cutting-edge biotechnological tools for genetic diagnosis but also with molecules used routinely in household care. The session was structured around interviews with researchers on 4 extreme environments: hot, cold, saline and acidic. The video of the 3Goung to Extremes” session is available here:
During ESOF 2018, MetaFluidics also took part in the “Science in the City” Festival, which invested the city of Toulouse and its surroundings during the Science Forum. As a free event, the Science in the City Festival was aimed at people of all ages who are curious about science and innovation. For more details about the MEtaFluidics activities during the”Science in the City festival”, please check this page on our website: https://www.metafluidics.eu/yes-proteins-and-microbes-do-have-superpowers/
Throughout the project, the MetaFluidics partners also actively contribute to “Open Days” at their respective institutions, one example of which was the “Science Day” at the University of Cambridge’s Department of Biochemistry” in 2019.
During project meetings hosted by academic partners, seminars open to the members of the host institution are regularly organised to disseminate content related to the project, with lectures given by “guests” to undergraduate or graduate students. Furthermore, with institutional school visits to research facilities frequently taking place at different project partners’ facilities, project partners aim to include information about the objectives and activities of the project, as well as its results, publications, deliverables, etc.