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24, chemin de Borde Rouge –Auzeville – CS52627
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Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Ethics and code of conduct

Within the context of their public service missions, permanent and contractual Inra staff have a particular status giving them certain rights and guarantees entailing, however, compliance with certain obligations. These statutory rules, including principles of ethics and conduct, aim to ensure a respectful work environment for the common good. In addition to these obligations are some specific rules relating to research activities.
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Inra promotes a professional code of conduct in research: objectivity, impartiality and independence, intellectual honesty and reliability, integrity and transparency, exemplary behaviour, the guarantee of researcher freedom within the limits of the priorities established, and ethics. 


The core subjects include compliance with intellectual and industrial property rights, assessment of the work of third parties and expert appraisals, rules regarding multiple activities, and regulations applicable to prevention, hygiene, and safety at work.


The Institute has adopted an initiative for the continuing improvement of professional practices in the interests of equality, compliance with rules, and respect for individuals. With this in mind, it has extended the implementation of the principles of ethics and conduct of the European Charter for Researchers to both permanent and contractual staff.

Rights and statutory obligations of permanent and contractual staff at Inra


Principle of non-discrimination

This is the principle of equal eligibility to join the civil service. Any discrimination based more particularly on race, state of health, handicap, beliefs, philosophies, opinions or sex is forbidden.

Freedom of opinion

Freedom of opinion entails respecting the ideas and private life of each member of staff. However, this freedom must be exercised in keeping with the obligation of neutrality and the principle of secularism, as well as the obligation of discretion.

Union rights

The principle of freedom of association includes the freedom to establish trade unions - in accordance with the labour law - as well as the guarantee of non-discrimination with regard to union members or non-members. Union membership cannot be taken into consideration with regards recruitment, promotion, assignment, and more generally, the status of the members of staff.

Right to strike

Jurisprudence recognises the right of civil servants to strike. This right must, however, be exercised within the legal limits.

Right to remuneration

Civil servants are entitled to remuneration in exchange for services rendered, which includes salary, residence allowance, and compensation as set out in legislative or regulatory texts.

Right to paid leave

Each year, civil servants are entitled to paid leave of which the duration is laid down in regulatory texts.

Right to continuing training

Since 1st January 2017, civil servants have access to a Personal Training Account (Compte Personnel de Formation - CPF) to promote access to professional training.


Obligation of neutrality

Civil servants must not affirm their political or religious preferences and must not accept any differentiation in service rendered to users according to such convictions.

Obligation of professional secrecy

As custodians of information relating to or of interest to private individuals, civil servants are bound by professional secrecy laid down in the criminal code.

Obligation of professional discretion

This obligation aims to protect the administration against the disclosure of information regarding the workplace such as facts, information or documents that civil servants may encounter while performing or in connection with their duties.

Obligation of discretion

This concerns the expression of the civil servant's personal opinions. It does not pertain to the content of the opinions but the way in which they are transposed in speech, in writing or in actions. The obligation must be respected in and outside the workplace.

Obligation to follow orders

Civil servants must obey the orders of the competent superior authority and must be loyal when performing their duties. The obligation to follow orders requires compliance with all laws and regulations.

Inra's professional ethics charter

The evolution in the working environment of research teams has brought to light major challenges in terms of cooperation, including internationally, linked to the need to work together, but has also resulted in greater tension brought about more particularly by the competitive nature of the activities and individual logic which develops within research institutions.

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The need to provide ethical guidelines and draw on ethical principles is necessary in the scientific community, not only so that each member of this community can carry out their missions in an impartial and exemplary way to serve the common good, but also to consolidate the bond of trust between the Institute and society.

The professional ethics charter for researchers, endorsed by Inra, provides guidelines for all members of staff. The charter details what is expected in a rigorous, fair scientific approach and recalls the general sense of the missions entrusted to researchers in addition to the individual responsibilities of each employee at collective level.

The prime issue is then sharing an ethical approach and an ethical culture among all the staff at the institute, which involves more particularly raising awareness, providing information, preventive measures, or training programmes. This ambition is detailed in the HR 2017-2021 roadmap.

Inra's scientific missions and programmes require staff to handle animals, plants, pathogenic micro-organisms, toxins, etc. for experimental purposes. Some of these activities are subject to official regulations, particularly in terms of prior authorisations or accreditation and the need for self-contained facilities, good laboratory practices, and staff accreditation. The institute also has a biosafety policy with which each member of staff must comply.