In accordance with the decisions made by the presidiums of the DFG and the Leopoldina, the Joint Committee on the Handling of Security-Relevant Research has the following mandate:
“[…] to promote the effective and sustainable implementation of the recommendations of the DFG and the Leopoldina on “Scientific Freedom and Scientific Responsibility”. The Joint Committee shall monitor and proactively advance the status of implementation at research institutions and support them in properly implementing the recommendations by drafting sample texts, for example. This applies in particular to the establishment of the Committees for Ethics in Security-Relevant Research (KEFs – German acronym) as outlined in the recommendations.
The Joint Committee shall act as a point of contact for the KEFs for any questions and as a platform for sharing experience and knowledge. The responsibility for individual cases under discussion shall lie with the research institutions at which the work is being carried out. In special cases that cannot adequately be appraised by the KEFs, the Leopoldina may appoint ad-hoc working groups with the necessary specialist expertise to carry out a risk-benefit assessment of the research in question in close collaboration with the Joint Committee.
In addition, the Joint Committee shall monitor developments in the field of security-relevant research in Germany and, where necessary, identify potential areas for action and advise the DFG and the Leopoldina on these issues. Where necessary, Committee members will take part in public discussions. In order to focus attention on this issue over the long term, the Committee shall organise regular events to raise awareness of the responsible handling of security-relevant research within the scientific community and also including the communication to policymakers and the public.”