Responsible VIB Research

VIB strives to contribute to the training of responsible scientists and perform its research in the most responsible manner. VIB has a policy to promote safety, bioethics and integrity in research.

For VIB ‘Responsible Research’ encompasses the following key concepts:

  • Doing research in a safe manner
  • Legal compliance
  • Dealing with bioethical issues responsibly
  • Applying high integrity standards
  • Accountability
  • Awareness about and sensitivity to societal issues

More information on how these different concepts are being substantiated and what practical guidance VIB has developed for this can be read in the brochure ‘Responsible VIB Research’ (pdf, 717 KB).

Management of responsible research
VIB has a regulatory & responsible research manager which also is the Research Integrity Officer that provides help and guidance in matters of integrity and is responsible for handling alleged cases of scientific misconduct. VIB is a member of the Flemish Committee on Scientific Integrity (VCWI), through which those involved in alleged cases of scientific misconduct have a right to ask for a second opinion.

Contact: integrity*Replace*With*At*Sign*  

The VIB research departments and units are integrated into facilities of its partner universities. The institutional safety and environmental policies are therefore guided by the policies of these universities. In addition to the university tools and procedures VIB has developed different educational and training tools for general safety and biosafety. The brochures ‘Safety@work’ and ‘Biosafety in the Laboratory’ provide practical and background information for those who start to work in the VIB laboratories.

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Legal compliance
Procedures are in place to ensure legal compliance with relevant regulatory frameworks that apply to the VIB research activities. In some areas the interpretation of this legislation is not always very clear or straightforward. This is for instance the case for activities involving genome editing. VIB has written a GMO Definition Legal Analysis to help create clarity in this area.

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The use of animals in research

The use of animals is unavoidable in the basic biomedical research at VIB. For answering relevant research questions VIB uses mice, rats, tadpoles, zebra fish and - on rare occasions - a rabbit or guinea pig. Animals are only used when no alternative non-animal model exists. The majority of research on animals is performed using mice. In addition, VIB uses a large number of fruit-flies for neurobiological research, but fruit-flies are not subject to the laws governing use of animals in research. The animals are used for biomedical research into inflammatory diseases, cancer, cardiovascular and neurobiological conditions. The knowledge gained from the research involving lab animals contributes to the development of new methods for diagnosis and prevention and the development of new vaccines and treatments. All research that uses animals at VIB is subjected to stringent supervision to ensure the correct implementation of the three R’s (replacement, reduction, refinement) and all other obligations that aim to protect the well-being of the animals.

Read why animal research is essential 
Infographic_The use of animals in medical research.pdfInfographic_The use of animals in medical research.pdf