Opinion of 28 February 2013 on a notification for prior-checking regarding the processing of personal data in the context of the selection and recruitment of Seconded National Experts ("SNEs"), trainees and interim agents at the European Research Council Executive Agency (Case 2012-0997)
Opinion on notifications for prior checking received from the Data Protection Officers of six EU Executive agencies concerning the "processing of administrative inquiries and disciplinary proceedings" (Cases 2013-1022 (REA), 2013-1012 (CHAFEA), 2014-0136 (INEA), 2014-0723 (EACEA), 2014-0805 (ERCEA) and 2014-0937 (EASME)
Opinion of 21 September 2011 on a notification for Prior Checking regarding the project "IDEAS-Exclusion of Experts by Applicants" of the European Research Council Executive Agency (ERCEA) (Case 2010-661)
In the context of peer evaluation, project proposals submitted to the ERCEA are subject to a review by panels composed of independent scientists and scholars. Under the notified procedure, applicants submitting a project proposal can include a reasoned request that up to three specific persons would not act as peer reviewer in the evaluation of the proposal. The purpose of the processing is to guarantee a fair, equal and objective assessment of project proposals, and neutralize applicants' concerns on the correctness of the evaluation outcome and the objectivity of experts.
In the light of the principle of data quality, the EDPS invited ERCEA in particular to investigate the possibility of defining pre-fixed categories (e.g. "direct scientific rivalry", "professional hostility") rather than a "free text" field for submitting specific reasons to exclude certain peers from becoming panel members.
The EDPS further recommended that ERCEA procedurally ensure that the rights of access and rectification of experts concerned are limited only in cases where this is necessary and that, subject to the restrictions of Article 20 of the Regulation, each expert can verify whether he/she wants to rectify objective data and/or add his/her own statement "neutralising" or "balancing" the subjective appreciation by the applicant.