Ostina - Cooperation

An Interview with Georg Winckler: EU-Charter & Code of Conduct - European Researchers enter Center Stage

bridges vol. 11, September 2006 / Feature Articles
by Bettina Neunteufl


wilhelmvonhumboldt_smallwilhelmvonhumboldt_smallWilhelm von Humboldt once recommended that research should be done in "isolation and freedom" and that the nowadays oft-cited ivory tower would be the most proper environment for achieving qualified knowledge. It is understood that Humboldt never meant for scientists to be locked up in their labs with no social contacts. "Isolation" is rather meant as striving for truth in oneself, and "freedom" should be seen as intellectual independence.

Researchers may come from various backgrounds, with diverse interests and a broad spectrum of hopes and dreams. But one thing they all have in common is curiosity and a passion for research. Although the researchers have left their ivory towers, and the links between science and society are more and more evident, the actual work of scientists is sometimes still shrouded in mystery and many talented young people in the European Union may view science as a difficult and poorly paid career-choice.

In order to put the spotlight on European research, the European Commission issued the European Charter of Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers.


Both Charter and Code regard all researchers of the EU, at all stages of their careers, within all disciplines both in the private and the public sectors. Specific objectives are to bring scientific researchers closer to the public and attract young people to careers in science. In this sense, the Charter and the Code invite researchers, employers, and funders to act responsibly and professionally within their working environment, recognizing each other as respected partners.

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