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 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.