General Data Protection Regulation

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) entered into force in 2016 and applies across EU Member States since May 2018. It applies to any type of scientific research that uses personal data, including studies in (bio)medicine, the social sciences, and the arts and humanities. It affects EU researchers, who need to be able to collect, process, and re-process personal data and collaborate internationally.

During the legislative process Science Europe and partners advocated successfully for a number of key issues, which were included in the Regulation. It now includes exemptions from several general requirements for scientific research and when it comes to freedom of expression in an academic context. Some of these are included in the Regulation itself and apply automatically as of May 2018, others have been delegated to Member States to implement at national level.

Science Europe Activities

Science Europe was very active on the GDPR from the beginning of the legislative process. Its former Scientific Committee for the Medical Sciences, supported by other Scientific Committees, published an Opinion Paper on processing personal data, patient privacy, and safety, in May 2013. It was followed by a Science Europe Position Statement on the proposed GDPR legislation later that month.

In addition to these statements, Science Europe also co-signed various statements and recommendations with key partners, such as the Wellcome Trust and the Federation of European Academies of Medicine (FEAM), and took part in a number of discussions, round tables, and conferences.

Science Europe Outputs on the GDPR


(19/02/19) Vacancy for a Senior Policy Officer at Science Europe... read more

(0702/19) Science Europe issues a statement on managing the independence and guaranteeing the excellence of the European Research Council... read more

(29/01/19) Science Europe launches guide to support the international alignment of Research Data Management... read more


The Practical Guide to the International Alignment of Research Data Management (November 2018) presents core requirements for Data Management Plans (DMPs) and criteria for the selection of trustworthy repositories, as well as some guidance on how to put these requirements and criteria into practice... read more