Association of Polar Early Career Scientists


The APECS Code of Conduct was developed during the 2017-2018 APECS term by the Executive Committee, the Council and Members of the APECS National Committee leaderships.

The code of conduct was approved unanimously by the members of the APECS 2017-2018 Executive Committee and 2017-2018 Council on 20 September 2018.

The code of conduct takes effect immediately.

APECS’ goals include creating opportunities for the development of innovative, international, and interdisciplinary collaborations among current early career polar researchers as well as recruiting, retaining and promoting the next generation of polar enthusiasts.

APECS recognises the value of voluntary contributions members make to APECS and partner organizations, and seeks to support APECS members to thrive in their professional endeavors regardless of nationality, ethnicity, religion, race, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, economic class, disability, physical appearance, age, or career status.

This Code of Conduct applies to all APECS Members and sets minimum expectations for personal and professional behavior. More stringent requirements imposed by third parties (e.g. employing organizations, vessel/station management) remain fully in effect. It helps ensure that all APECS Members can contribute to activities in a safe environment.

1. Conflicts of Interest

The APECS leadership (Executive Committee, Council members, APECS International Directorate staff) and APECS National Committee leaderships are frequently required to make decisions for APECS and its members, including but not limited to: voting on new procedures and directions for APECS; deciding on new projects; voting for winners in an APECS-organized contest; deciding on awards offered by APECS; and reviewing applications for the many international opportunities with our partners.

A conflict of interest is understood to be a) any situation in which a person is in a position to derive personal benefit from actions or decisions made in their official capacity; or b) a situation in which a person has a close relationship with, or is a close colleague of, a person that a decision is made about (e.g. in a review process).

Any potential conflicts of interest should be declared as soon as they arise and solutions to avoid them found with the APECS Executive Committee or the chair of the committee that is making the decision. Involvement in the APECS leadership does not disadvantage any Member, or preclude them from applying for opportunities offered by APECS. 

If you believe you have a conflict of interest, you should contact the relevant group leader or chair, who will ultimately decide whether the supposed conflict of interest precludes your participation in the relevant activity.

The summary below of potential conflicts of interest and other circumstances that may raise questions about impartiality should be used as a guide when assessing if potential conflicts of interest exist.

  • You have a conflict of interest when ...

You are directly involved in any of the submissions

  • You have an institutional conflict with an applicant when you …

Hold a position, such as professor, adjunct, visiting scientist, consultant or similar within a given department or institution

Are serving on advisory bodies or a similar body of the applicant’s institution (current or past activity within the past 5 years)

  • You have a financial conflict with a proposal when you …

Hold a fiduciary position (Officer, Governing Board, Councillor, Trustee…) in one of the institutions applying for funding

Gain direct or indirect benefits if the proposal is accepted

  • You have an individual conflict with a proposal which involves a …

Relative, spouse or family member, or someone with which you have personal relationships or conflicts

Current business or professional partner

Former employer (within one year)

Person with whom you were involved in ongoing or recently concluded professional appointment proceedings

Present or past PhD advisor/student

Person with whom you had close scientific collaboration within the past three years (e.g. preparation of an application, publication or exploitation of results, co-publication of articles, etc.)

Person with whom you are in direct scientific competition or competition with personal projects or plans

  • You may also have a conflict with a proposal involving …

A person living in your household or their employer

Your parent’s employer (except solely receipt of honoraria)

“Catch All”

  • “Catch All”

Any other circumstances where your impartiality could be questioned. Use the “Reasonable Person Test” to ask: “would a reasonable person with all the relevant facts question your impartiality?” and “can you reasonably defend your action?”

An APECS member deemed to have a conflict of interest with respect to participation in a given activity will be excluded from discussions relating to the decision making process until after the public announcement of results. Members may continue to serve in other Project Groups and APECS activities where the conflict of interest is not relevant throughout this time.


2. Discrimination

APECS does not tolerate any form of discrimination within the organisation and its activities. APECS rejects discrimination by any means, based on factors including but not limited to: ethnic or national origin, race, religion, citizenship, language, political or other opinion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, age, or economic class.

Discrimination is any unequal or unfair treatment in professional opportunities, education, benefits, evaluation, and employment (such as hiring, termination, promotion, compensation) as well as retaliation and various types of harassment. Discriminatory practices can be explicit or implicit, intentional or unconscious.

All APECS members are to be treated with respect and consideration, valuing a diversity of views, opinions, and cultures. APECS is a diverse network with many cultures and languages represented. Members may not be communicating with other members in their primary language. Certain expressions can be understood differently in other cultures. Any communication should be open and demonstrate respect for others; critique should be aimed at ideas rather than individuals.


3. Harassment

APECS is committed to providing a safe, productive, and welcoming environment for all members. Any instance of harassment within the organisation and its activities will not be tolerated, and can result in APECS Membership being revoked.

Harassment is a type of discrimination that consists of acts that are unwanted, unwelcome, demeaning, abusive, threatening, or offensive. Harassment commonly takes the form of a single intense and severe act, or of multiple persistent or pervasive acts. Examples of behaviour that constitute harassment include, but are not limited to: any form of degrading comments, verbal or otherwise, related to gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, national origin; the inappropriate use of nudity and/or sexual images; threats; unwanted touching or other hostile acts; the circulation of written or graphic material that denigrates an individual or a group; as well as minimizing or intentionally taking actions to reduce the the credibility of a harassment victim.

Acts of harassment are often underreported and minimalized. APECS is committed to creating a safe environment where victims of, and witnesses to, harassment feel empowered to report on such activity. For this reason, a system has been put in place in which anyone who feels that they have been subject or witness to harassment has multiple reporting mechanisms to choose from, depending on their preference. The email address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., which is directed to the Secretariat, can be used at any time to report incidents of harassment. A further option for Council members is to reach out to their ExCom contact. All members of ExCom accept the responsibility to receive reports of harassment and deal with them in a responsive, respectful, and effective manner.


4. Political Activity

Political activity is defined as activity relating to the government or the public affairs of a country. APECS defines itself as a non-partisan organization. APECS does not support or oppose any given party, candidate, campaign, or policy, and must remain impartial in all such affairs. APECS supports the use of evidence-based policy suggestions, based on the best available objective evidence from research, rather than subjective values or ideologically-driven viewpoints.

For more details on what is considered to constitute political activity for APECS, please refer to the Political Activity Statement.


5. Consequences of violating the Code of Conduct

All violations of the Code of Conduct will be addressed by the APECS leadership, and penalties relative to the infraction will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Penalties can include:

  • Membership revocation
  • Removal from the APECS Mailing List
  • Ineligibility for grants administered by APECS 
  • Ineligibility for opportunities advertised and administered through APECS
  • Ineligibility to attend APECS International or National Committee organised events


Contact APECS

APECS International Directorate
Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research
Telegrafenberg A45
14473 Potsdam
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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