MCAA whistleblowing channel
Any community can be affected by wrongdoings, and when this happens fear of retaliation can often silence those who witness it. The MCAA is committed to addressing and rectifying any malpractice, misconduct, or ethical violations by promoting an environment that encourages all its members to come forward without fear of reprisal.
As we understand the risks involved when reporting such situations, our priority is to uphold transparency, accountability, and integrity within our community by safeguarding the rights and the well-being of those who speak up. For this reason, the MCAA has established the MCAA Whistleblowing Channel, which provides a secure and confidential platform for members to report any form of unethical behaviour they have witnessed or experienced first-hand.
Reporting misconducts plays a crucial role in promoting transparency and accountability within the MCAA. By stepping forward, you can contribute to the overall well-being and reputation of our association and help us take action to address any violations of the MCAA Code of Conduct. For comprehensive and detailed information regarding the MCAA Whistleblowing Channel Policy document.
As per the MCAA Whistleblowing Channel Policy, the MCAA is limited in what the association can do regarding unethical issues that happen outside of the MCAA's scope of activity. However, the Association wishes to provide a secure and safe space for its members when they have been observing or experiencing unethical issues related to third parties (e.g. universities, research centres, funding bodies, private companies, etc.) they have contact with. Hence, through the MCAA Whistleblowing Channel, you can report issues related to two types of macro-contexts: A) issues that took place or are directly related to the MCAA, and B) issues that took place or are directly related to third parties. However, it is important that you understand that:
1. The MCAA has the power to take action only about issues related to the MCAA itself, i.e. macro-context A.
2. As for issues related to third parties, i.e. macro context B, the MCAA will do its best to promote the discussion about your report with stakeholders, but will not conduct an investigation since the Association neither has jurisdiction nor legal power for that. Moreover, by law, you must attempt to use the communication channels provided by third parties before communicating any issue in an external channel such as the MCAA Whistleblowing Channel.
The reporting form is designed to guide you through the process of reporting any kind of unethical situations, ensuring that your concerns and experiences are addressed with utmost confidentiality, sensitivity and impartiality.
For the time being, access to the MCAA Whistleblowing Channel is restricted to MCAA members only. Members can access the reporting form through the button below.
After you have submitted a report through the online form, you can monitor and enquire about its status and related actions through a separate request form, which is available on the same restricted page.
Why should I come forward and speak up?
If you have personally observed or encountered any instances of malpractice, misconduct, or breaches of ethical standards within the MCAA, we highly encourage you to take action as your involvement can be crucial in exposing acts of wrongdoing that would otherwise go unnoticed. As a member of the MCAA, you have the right to expose those who abuse their power, engage in academic malpractice, or violate the policies and regulations of the MCAA Code of Conduct. By reporting such incidents, you can initiate necessary processes that lead to investigations, disciplinary actions, and necessary reforms, ultimately strengthening the culture of fairness and transparency within the MCAA.
Can I make an anonymous report?
Yes. Once you access the MCAA Whistleblowing Channel, you will be guided through the reporting process and you may choose to opt for anonymity by selecting this option.
I’m afraid my identity might be exposed if I choose to identify myself. Is it really safe to report?
Yes. The reporting process is designed to ensure the protection of your identity. Your personal information will remain confidential throughout this process and only accessed by the MCAA Ethics Committee which is an independent and impartial body of the Association.
What will happen after I report what I’ve experienced?
Upon submitting a report, the MCAA Ethics Committee will analyze your report and decide whether an investigation shall be conducted or not. Within 90 days, the Ethics Committee will conduct a report with a conclusion regarding each analysis that will be provided to the Board of the MCAA. In this report, corrective measures can be suggested and the Board will decide whether to apply those or not.
How can I know the status of the report I made?
You must use the Report Status Channel to retrieve information or add extra information about your report. During the submission of your report, you will be asked to provide a password. This will be necessary to retrieve information regarding the status of your report. If you lose your password, the Ethics Committee will not be able to provide any information regarding your report. This applies even if you identify yourself and provide in the form “Report Status Channel” form contacts that match your personal contacts.
What if I wish to have mental health support?
The MCAA aims to empower the wellbeing of all its members. No matter what kind of report you wish to submit, studies have shown that individuals that report issues through a whistleblowing channel may experience anxiety and other clinical symptoms related to their mental health.
To address this issue, the MCAA has partnered with RUMO to offer the possibility of mental health support by certified professionals for all members that may be experiencing any kind of psychological symptoms. All sessions are conducted by RUMO's team only and no information will ever be shared with the MCAA. The first psychology appointment with RUMO is free and easy to schedule.
MCAA members will benefit from a 10% discuount for subsequent appointments included in any subscription option by applying before billing the voucher "MCAA".
RUMO has been promoting well-being and mental health literacy since 2017, offering a diversity of services such as appointments for psychology, psychiatry, and psychological coaching. With over 40 certified professionals with a wide range of specialties and nationalities, RUMO serves clients in more than 25 countries currently. All professionals comply to the highest ethical standards oriented by international entities such as the Portuguese Body of Psychologists, the British Psychological Society, the American Psychological Association, The International Society for Mental Health Online and all procedures are regulated by the Portuguese Health Regulatory Entity (under license no. E146359). RUMO was already recognized multiple times on both national and international level (e.g. Good Practices Award by the Portuguese Body of Psychologists). The team has been working with topics related to whistleblowing in academia presenting papers in several academic events.
What should I do if I face an ethical issue during my MSCA fellowship?
In accordance with the most prevalent regulations, it is mandatory to initially explore communication channels offered by third parties before raising any concerns through an external platform like the MCAA Whistleblowing Channel. Therefore, if any problems arise during your MSCA fellowship, the question is: How should you proceed? In order to assist members in understanding the guidelines, the MCAA has sought guidance from the EC regarding the mechanisms available to aid MSCA fellows:
MSCA promotes effective supervision. It is evident that good supervision contributes to creating a supportive environment for doctoral and postdoctoral researchers and staff to conduct their work and is of high importance for their career advancement. Effective supervision includes providing support and guidance, monitoring, and assessing progress, counselling on career development, raising awareness on well being, providing regular feedback, and ensuring clear and open communication. If you feel that there is insufficient expertise or commitment to guide and support you in your research, you should not hesitate to voice these concerns clearly and in time to your employer (for example to your supervisor), or project coordinator.
If those mentioned above cannot resolve the issue, then please contact the organisation coordinating the project, if this is different from your employer. Only in the exceptional cases where problems remain after this dialogue should you inform the relevant Project Officer at the European Research Executive Agency (REA). The coordinator of your project will have the contact details of this person. However, please raise the matter first with your employer or project coordinator (if applicable), before contacting REA.
In case you need further clarification with regard to any of the aspects of your fellowship, you could contact either your supervisor or another representative of your employer, or any of the MSCA National Contact Points (NCP). NCPs are national structures which can provide personalised support in the local language. Many of them have a specialised Contact Point dealing with the MSCA. NCPs in different countries are in regular touch with each other, so you will be signposted to the most appropriate source of advice.
Please refer to the relevant information packages for Marie Skłodowska-Curie (MSCA) fellows to find more information on these issues and the complaints procedure:
- General Information package for Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellows: https://data.europa.eu/doi/10.2848/894321
- Information note for Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellows in a Co-funding of regional, national and international programme (COFUND) project: https://data.europa.eu/doi/10.2848/990663
- Information note for Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellows in Doctoral Networks: https://data.europa.eu/doi/10.2848/235149
- Information note for Marie Skłodowska-Curie staff members in Staff Exchanges projects: https://data.europa.eu/doi/10.2848/20778