Directives, guidelines and ethics

UNIGE Guidelines



The omnipresence of digital technology is also reflected in the current European framework program for research and innovation (Horizon Europe). Several calls for proposals are open, not only in the specific digital program Cluster 4: Digital, Industry and Space, but also in other Horizon Europe programs such as Health, Security, Research Infrastructure, Transport, Energy, etc.

The 2023 and 2024 Horizon Europe Cluster 4 work programme (Digital, Industry and Space work programme) has been published by the European Commission, along with the significant budgets earmarked for digitization throughout the framework program and the underlying programs: Funding for Digital in the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework

Horizon Europe includes a budget dedicated to "Digital, industry and space". This budget will develop cutting-edge research and innovation in enabling technologies, such as:

  •     artificial intelligence and robotics
  •     next-generation internet
  •     high-performance computing
  •     Big Data
  •     key digital technologies
  •     5-6G
  •     semiconductors...

It will also help research to combine digital with other technologies. Overall, it is expected that around 35% of Horizon Europe will support work in favor of the digital transition. Horizon Europe's work will be complementary to that of the Digital Europe program.

Digital – Cluster 4 (Euresearch)

Topic Preview 2023

Call for digital proposals (European Commission – Horizon Europe)

Horizon Europe info day - Cluster 4

For other Horizon Europe programs that contain digital elements (Health, Security, etc.) please refer to the specific work programs: Horizon Europe - The Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness pillars

Calls in all Horizon Europe programs

Open calls for proposals - Horizon Europe (Euresearch)

Poster Euresearch Digital in Horizon Europe

At present, Switzerland only participates in the Horizon Europe framework program, with certain restrictions linked to its status as a non-associated third country: Status of Switzerland in Horizon Europe

In view of the above, and if your research topic could have a link or take on another dimension with digitization, we invite you to browse the lists of open calls and, if one of the themes corresponds to you, prepare a project proposal or join a consortium already formed. The following link on the Commission's IT platform can help you find potential partners:

Major events organized by the European Commission are published and updated regularly on the IDEAL-IST website.

Contact for further information


The Digital Europe program is a new EU funding program focused on delivering digital technologies to businesses, citizens and public administrations.

The digital aspect is strongly present in several other European programs, such as

Ethics and professional conduct

At the University of Geneva (UNIGE), any ethical approach described below must comply with the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct drawn up by the Ethics and Professional Conduct Committee which is the University's reference body in this area.

In Switzerland, the necessary ethical and legal framework conditions are laid down in the Law on Research Involving Human Subjects (LRH), which applies in the cases specified in art. 2 para. 1.

Any research project involving human participants normally requires the approval of a Research Ethics Committee. At the University of Geneva, the University Research Ethics Committee (CUREG) evaluates research projects involving human participants carried out at the University that do not fall within the scope of art. 2 al. 1 LRH.

Researchers whose projects fall within the scope of the above-mentioned article should contact the Cantonal Research Ethics Commission (CCER) directly.

To check whether your project falls within the scope of the Law on Human Research (LRH), you must submit your question electronically on BASEC (application submission platform created by Swissethics).

The submission procedure is described in the presentation: Should my project be submitted to BASEC?



Site web:
E-mail: commission-ethique(at)

In Switzerland, all research using animals must be carried out within the legal framework imposed by the Federal Law on the Protection of Animals (LPA - in french only) and under the control of cantonal and federal authorities.

For research projects involving animals carried out at the University, please refer to the Authorization Procedure at the University of Geneva.

Applications for authorization must be submitted by e-mail to the Direction de l'Expérimentation Animale (DEA).

Direction de l'Expérimentation Animale (DEA)

Authorization request: direction-expanim(at)

Research activities involving artificial intelligence (AI) should respect certain ethical principles, according to the European Commission's Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence (AI).

It published Ethics Guidelines on Trustworthy AI in April 2019.

This report provides

  • elements of ethical assessments relating to key AI requirements
  • requirements, and guidance on how to implement them in practice.

Some key points are summarized in the Infosheet Ethical Principles for AI Research from the Research Support Service.

We encourage UNIGE researchers involved in AI-related research projects to refer to them for the ethical assessment of their project.

Other questions

For all other questions relating to ethics, please contact the University Research Ethics Committee (CUREG) and/or the Faculty Ethics Committee if it exists.

Specific information for  « Horizon 2020 »

For projects under the European framework programs (Horizon 2020, IMI, etc.), please refer to the Research Support Service information sheet and its appendices.

According to the UNIGE Charter of Ethics and Deontology, responsibility towards society is a consequence of the University's public mandate and academic freedom.

Consequently, all researchers have a personal duty to consider the possible consequences of their research on society, and to question potentially dangerous applications throughout the project.

These principles are implemented within the institutional framework of the UNIGE and according to the following operational approach:

The principal investigator is required to review the UNIGE's ethical standards, including the following questions:

  •  Do the results of your research have a confirmed or potential military application or impact on current standards of military ethics - for example, global ban on weapons of mass destruction, proportionality issues, combatant discrimination and responsibility in developments of autonomous drones and robots, laser or incendiary weapons?
  • Do export control regulations apply to the results of your research?
  •  Is the military-industrial complex (including, but not limited to, the government, armed forces and/or defense industry) involved in funding your research?
  • Do the results of your research have any confirmed or potential military application or impact on current standards of military ethics - for example, global bans on weapons of mass destruction, proportionality issues, combatant discrimination and responsibility in the development of autonomous drones and robots, laser or incendiary weapons?
  • Do export control regulations apply to the results of your research?
  • Is the military-industrial complex (including, but not limited to, the government, armed forces and/or defense industry) involved in funding your research?
  • If the answer to any of these questions is YES / POSSIBLE, the Principal Investigator is required to notify the Research Department in writing without delay for further advice;
  • If a preliminary review does not confirm compliance with UNIGE ethical standards, the relevant ethics body will carry out a full review.

References and further information

For H2020

States have sovereign rights over the genetic ressources within their national jurisdiction, and are entitled under international law to define the modalities of access both for research and for subsequent utilization.

The Nagoya Protocol defines since 2014 the international legal framework for access and utilization of genetic resources and Traditional Knowledge. It also sets the general principle that benefits must be shared in a fair and equitable manner with the providing countries.

In the context of ABS, genetic resources have a broad meaning that goes well beyond DNA or RNA. They include any material of plant, animal, microbial or other origin containing functional units of heredity and that is of actual or potential value. Genetic resources can be wild, domesticated or cultivated. However, the rules on ABS do not cover human genetic resources.

Traditional knowledge includes the traditional knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities embodying lifestyles relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.

Use of genetic resources refers to research and development on the genetic and/or biochemical composition of genetic resources, including through the application of biotechnology.

The principles set by the Nagoya Protocol are implemented in the domestic legislation of the providing countries. It is up to them to decide whether they require the fulfilment of ABS obligations. The Protocol also sets out a number of compliance measures to ensure that access is given only with Prior Informed Consent and under Mutually Agreed Terms.

Prior Informed Consent means a unilateral declaration of the competent authority of the providing country.

Mutually Agreed Terms means a contract negotiated between the users and providers of genetic resources.

Access and Benefit Sharing principles apply to all research including non-commercial academic research. Therefore, researchers should never use genetic resources before veryfying the conditions for access and utilization.

Switzerland ratified the Nagoya Protocol in 2014. The Federal Act on the Protection of Nature and Cultural Heritage (NCHA) forms the basis for legal use of genetic resources. The Nagoya Ordinance (NagO) specifies the terms of the application of the Nagoya Protocol in Switzerland.

Researchers receiving EU funding may have certain obligations under the EU Regulation on Access and Benefit Sharing (EU ABS Regulation) if they use genetic resources. They should contact the relevant funding authority for any further questions about applicable obligations and/or procedures. For H2020 projects , please refer to the Administration and contractual/legal guidelines UNIGE (RS).

Further information

For advice on legal aspects in relation with the implementation of  the Nagoya Protocol (PIC, MAT) please contact Research and GrantsOffice at euresearch(at) for activities under European and international research programs or at research-grants-office(at) for activities under national and lemanic programs.

For further information and questions on the Nagoya Protocol please refer to the Swiss National Focal Point at the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN).  

Also :

Please note: this section concerns only the processing of personal data (DPO).
Not to be confused with Research Data Management!

For projects involving the collection and processing of personal data at/by the University, the Cantonal Law on Data Protection and Transparency (LIPAD) applies.

Consequently, the internal directive on its application to the UNIGE can be referred to as our internal data protection policy.

In the event that certain personal data is transferred from Europe to Switzerland for processing, the transfer must be considered as intra-European following the adequacy decision for Switzerland.

According to the relevant European regulation (GDPR, art. 45, al.9.) this decision is still valid.

IF the GDPR exceptionally applies to your project, please refer to the relevant EU guidelines prior to any data processing (PDF).

The process of appointing and setting up a DPO and a Commission on the application of the LIPAD at the University is currently underway.