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Upholding ethical principles is an essential aspect of applying for an EU research project. Particular attention must be paid to the protection of privacy, the protection of personal data, the right to physical and mental integrity, the right to non-discrimination, the principle of proportionality and the need to ensure a high level of protection of human health.

Horizon Europe does not fund human cloning for reproductive purposes, research to modify the genetic make-up of human beings for the purpose of heredity, research to create human embryos solely for the purpose of stem cell procurement, or somatic cell nuclear transfer.

Under a Horizon Europe project, researchers are obliged to present all ethically relevant aspects of their project and, if necessary, to adapt them to the legal framework (national and international). When submitting a proposal, ethical concerns of the project must already be explained in the form of an "ethics self-assessment".

All positively evaluated projects will undergo an ethical review process. As part of this review process, they are examined with the support of ethics experts to determine whether the research touches on one or more ethically sensitive areas (ethics screening). An ethics assessment is carried out in the case of complex ethical issues. Measures involving the use of human embryonic stem cells or human embryos are always subject to an ethical evaluation. The outcome of the procedure is either approval of the project or approval subject to conditions; only in rare cases is there no approval.

Even after the Grant Agreement has been signed, projects can be monitored for their implementation during the implementation phase by means of ethics checks or ethics audits. All necessary approvals and documents, e.g. from ethics committees, must be available before the start of a relevant action task.