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Working Party on Ethics in Chemistry

Aims and Goals of the Working Party

The Working Party is a network of representatives of the EuCheMS member societies with the goal to promote the understanding of the importance of ethical considerations in education and practice of pure and applied chemistry.
(Supporting letter of Roald Hoffmann)

Mission Statement

Science and technology shape society faster and stronger than ever, nationally and globally. Chemistry is a key science and technology in this process, contributing directly and indirectly by providing new substances and materials needed for advancement of the wealth of nations. But the quantitative growth of material turnover also entails new risks. It is in the interest of us chemists to participate in the process of finding the proper way between Scylla and Charybdis, together with policy makers, regulators, and agitators for sustainable and sound (chemical) progress, also for the sake of our reputation and acceptance by society. Therefore, awareness of the ethical, social and cultural dimensions of practicing chemistry is in the interest of us chemists and of society as a whole.

The EuCheMS Working Party “Ethics in Chemistry” aims at raising new perspectives by elaborating insightful viewpoints on those dimensions, based on the philosophical foundations of Chemistry. Its objectives are:

  • Contributing to the professional discussion of chemistry-related ethical issues (Science Ethics)
  • Elaborating codes of conduct, approaches of “good scientific practice”, and “chemical ethos” (Professional Ethics)
  • Identifying “hot topics” in ethics issues related to chemical research and engineering, and communicating them within the chemical community
  • Sharpening the awareness of chemists for ethical, social and legal implications of their professional practice, integrating these topics into education of chemists
  • Participating in national and international science governance, regulatory boards, and ethics committees

Steering Committee

Senior Chair: Luigi Campanella, Rome (IT)
Chair: Hartmut Frank, Bayreuth (DE)
Vice Chair: Anca Silvestru, Cluj-Napoca (RO)
Secretary: Jan Mehlich, presently Taichung, Taiwan (DE)
Consultants: Henning Hopf, Braunschweig (DE)
Frank Moser, Geneva (CH)


Members and Contact Details

Honorary Members

Prof. Dr. Richard Ernst                Prof. Dr. Roald Hoffmann
Ernst_Richard1_99                        roald_hofmann_euchems_99
Laboratorium für                         Dept. of Chemistry and
Physikalische Chemie                  Chemical Biology
ETH Zürich                                    Cornell University

National Members/Observers

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schubert, Institute of Materials Chemistry, Vienna University of Technology

Ulrich Schubert_tuwien_99

Dr. Brigitte Van Tiggelen,
Chemical Heritage Foundation, Director; Europe

euchems tiggelen

Czech Republic
Prof. Dr. Pavel Drasar,
UCHPL VSCHT Praha [ICT Prague]


Prof. Dr. Hartmut Frank, University of Bayreuth, Germany

Prof. Dr. Panayotis A. Siskos, Department of Chemistry, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens


Dr. Georgina Nagy, Institute of Environmental Engineering, University of Pannonia

Prof. Dr. Luigi Campanella, Dipartimento di Chimica Università di Roma 1


Prof. Dr. Jan Reedijk,Leiden Institute of Chemistry


Prof. Dr. Zdislaw Chilmonczyk, Narodowy Instytut Leków


Prof. Dr. Maria José Calhorda, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Faculty of Science, University of Lisbon, Campo Grande

Prof. Dr. Anca Silvestru, Babes-Bolyai University, Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Prof. Dr. Marina Frontasyeva, Dept. Neutron Activation Analysis and Applied Research, Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, Russian Federation


Prof. Dr. Pilar Goya, Instituto de Química Médica, CSIC


Dr. Frank Moser, Secretariat of the Stockholm Convention UNEP, IEH I 11-13 Chemin des Anemones CH-1219 Chatelaine, Geneva

Dr Frank Moser

Prof.Dr.Hasan Secen, Ataturk University

Dr. Modest Gertsyuk, Institute of Environmental Geochemistry, National Academy of Sciences (NAS) of Ukraine


United Kingdom
Toby Underwood, Royal Society of Chemistry, Thomas Graham House, Science Park, Milton Road, Cambridge

Former Honorary Member

Carl Djerassi
1923 – 2015
Link to the Obituary of the Stanford University
Link to the Obituary of the Economist

Former Member

Francesco Dondi

1943 – 2015
Link to the website of the University of Ferrara
Link to one video of F.Dondi



Approved on 13 Sept. 2016 by the participants of the WP meeting in Sevilla


§1     Name and General Commitment

1.1 The EuCheMS Working Party shall be called “Ethics in Chemistry”, herein after referred to as “WP EiC”.

1.2 The WP EiC is an integral part of EuCheMS and acts in accordance with the EuCheMS constitution.

1.3 It recognizes, accepts and follows the “Guidelines for Divisions and Working Parties” as published by EuCheMS.

§2    Content framework

2.1 The WP EiC dedicates its activities to all facets of ethical, social and cultural implications of chemical research, engineering and industry. These include the “internal” dimension that affects the individual Chemist and the Chemical community, as well as the “external” dimension that is related to the local (regional, national) and global (international) society. The WP EiC aims to contribute substantial input to the ethical discourse of scientific and technological development, bridging the realms of the Chemical professions, applied ethics and science and technology governance.

2.2 Moreover, the WP deals with meta-ethical questions about the meaning, performance, conduct and impact of ethics among Chemists.

2.3 A special focus is placed on the education of Chemists in ethics in order to acquire reasoning skills and sharpen  awareness  of the ethical implication of a Chemist’s profession.

§3    General Objectives

3.1 The WP EiC acts selflessly. It does not primarily pursue goals in its own economic or any other interest.

3.2 In order to represent all national chemical societies, associations and working groups within the catchment area of EuCheMS, the WP EiC is open to all members independent of age, gender, origin and ethnicity.

3.3 It supports, promotes and commits itself to established principles of  “good scientific practice” and the utilisation of science for the common good.

3.4 It intends to hold congresses, symposia, lectures and discussion events as major communication channels and platforms. It co-operates with other organisations having similar or related aims, especially other EuCheMS Working Parties and Divisions.

§4        Content Objectives

4.1 Collect, analyse and communicate ethically relevant cases reported by Chemists and in reviews of the literature.

4.2 Support and advise Chemists facing ethical dilemmas whenever questions come up in specific cases.

4.3 Provide a platform for the collaborative development of educational material.

4.4 Convince Chemists of their role in the ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI) of research, and motivate and support their active participation in engaging with these issues.

4.5 Provide a communication and networking platform to connect  chemical professionals with legislators, policymakers and legislators, risk researchers, technologies assessors and ethicists with interests in issues such as risk, sustainability and ELSI.

§5     Target groups

5.1 The WP primarily aims at engaging Chemists with the objectives given above in order to improve their sensitivity to the ethical aspects of Chemistry, to sharpen their awareness of  these, and to motivate their active participation in the WP.

5.2 A second focus is placed on establishing and improving the communication between Chemists and related stakeholders and bodies outside the chemical community such as legislative bodies, TA institutions, applied ethicists, etc.

§6     Membership

6.1 Membership of the WP EiC is open to all persons and organisations supporting the objectives of the WP, subject to the approval of the Steering Committee.

6.2 Membership is free of charge.

6.3 Members shall have the right to attend any meetings or gatherings of the WP EiC. Members shall have the right to attend plenary meetings of the WP and vote upon all motions before them.

6.4 Membership ends upon dissolution of the member organisation, for individuals upon their death, or upon resignation.

6.5 A member can be excluded if it is deemed necessary in view of the goals of the WP, especially when their mode of conduct is grossly harmful to the WP and its goals or they publicly and untruthfully discusses internal affairs of the WP resulting in damage to the WP’s reputation. Exclusion is by resolution of the Steering Committee. The member has the right to lodge a complaint against exclusion.

§7     Organisational structure

7.1 The organs of the WP EiC are

  1. the Steering Committee;
  2. the Plenary Assembly.

7.2 The Steering Committee shall consist of at least four members: Chair, Vice-Chair, Senior-Chair, and a Secretary. No person may hold more than one office simultaneously.

7.3 The Steering Committee takes care of all duties, as long as these have not been delegated to another organ or members of the WP. In particular, the Committee is responsible for:

  1. preparation and convocation of the Plenary Assembly;
  2. the execution of resolutions at the Plenary Assembly;
  3. membership administration.

7.4 The members of the Committee will be elected by the Plenary Assembly from its members for a period of four years. Apart from the position of Senior Chair, an office which should be held by the same person as the Chair of the previous term of office, the three elected members and the Senior Chair will decide between themselves how to allocate the remaining three positions on the Committee.

7.5 The Plenary Assembly of all WP members is responsible for all duties that are not delegated by these statutes to the Steering Committee, in particular:

  1. election and recall of Committee members;
  2. resolutions about changes of the statutes of the WP;
  3. resolutions about complaints, insofar as this is in line with the statutes or relevant regulations;
  4. the establishment of consulting committees or working groups as well as their composition and tasks (based on simple majority).

7.6 The Plenary Assembly may make recommendations to the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee must ask the opinion of the Plenary Assembly on all important decisions.

§8 Convocation, Agenda and Conduct of Plenary Assemblies

8.1 A Plenary Assembly will take place annually.

8.2 The invitation is by postal or electronic letter and must be published at least one month in advance. It contains the tentative agenda of the Plenary Assembly. Applications for alteration of the statutes or any other regulation must be included in full text.

8.3 The Steering Committee may call for an extraordinary Plenary Assembly if deemed necessary in the interest of the WP. Resolutions about urgent matters which are in the responsibility of the Plenary Assembly may also be voted upon electronically if it has been confirmed that all members have been informed about the essential reasons for a forthcoming vote and when a period of at least one week has elapsed between receipt of the relevant information and the voting.

8.4 Suggestions for additions to the agenda must be received by the Steering Committee  at least two weeks before the date of the Plenary Assembly. Decisions regarding additions to the agenda are made at the Plenary Assembly.

8.5 The Plenary Assembly shall be presided by the Chair, or in his/her absence by the Vice-Chair.  If the latter is also absent, the assembly shall be chaired by another member of the Steering Committee.

8.6 The preparation of the Minutes of the meeting is the responsibility of the Secretary; in his/her absence a member of the assembly shall be nominated as temporary secretary by the person chairing the assembly.

8.7 If not stated otherwise, resolutions shall be passed by a simple majority of the votes cast; abstentions will not be considered. If the Plenary Assembly has not attained a quorum of 60 % of membership, the proposal(s) to be voted upon and the result(s) of such voting during the meeting must be placed on the home page of the WP EiC within one week, to give delegates who have not been able to attend the opportunity to cast their vote by email to the Secretary within another week. If the quorum is still not reached then, the decision of the Plenary Assembly plus the votes submitted by email is accepted as final.

8.8 For alterations to the statutes, a majority of 2/3 of the valid votes cast is necessary. For changes concerning the goals and the purpose of the WP the agreement of all members is required. Any written agreement of members not present at the assembly must be received no later than 6 weeks after the date of the assembly.

8.9 The mode of voting is determined by the chair person. If the majority of the members present at the assembly is required for a particular resolution, the voting must be carried out secretly in written form.

§9     Dissolution of the Working Party

9.1 Besides the right of the EuCheMS General Assembly to dissolve the WP, its dissolution is decided upon by the Plenary Assembly of the WP with a majority of 4/5 of the valid votes cast.

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