The debate about research funding agencies favouring certain researchers or assessors who support researchers to which they are close crop up from time to time. Such events damage the public´s and the decision-takers´ confidence in both research and the results obtained.
As a State authority, the Research Council comes under the Administration Law, a law which was formulated in general terms and applies to all authorities. Our activity differs from that of other authorities, since the majority on the deciding bodies are chosen by the researchers who are directly affected by our allocation of research funds.
The Research Council´s work is thus organised so that the evaluation panels not only guard against conflicts of interest in the strict sense but also against unclear and delicate situations. Even if it is incumbent on the individual to report a conflict of interest, the evaluation panels and officials need also to be on their guard.
Examples of conflicts of interest could be where a scrutiniser works at the same institute as an applicant, or has recently collaborated closely with an applicant. A conflict of interest can also arise from antagonism or competition between a reviewer and the person being assessed.