International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)
Headquarter: Lyon, France

About IARC

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization.

The objective of the IARC is to promote international collaboration in cancer research. The Agency is inter-disciplinary, bringing together skills in epidemiology, laboratory sciences and biostatistics to identify the causes of cancer so that preventive measures may be adopted and the burden of disease and associated suffering reduced. A significant feature of the IARC is its expertise in coordinating research across countries and organizations; its independent role as an international organization facilitates this activity. The Agency has a particular interest in conducting research in low and middle-income countries through partnerships and collaborations with researchers in these regions.

IARC Professional Standards

The Medium-Term Strategy (MTS) and Implementation Plan for 2016-2020 outlines the principles upon which strategic decisions regarding the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) programme will be based. This shall be revised every five years.

The current MTS specifies a number of core values to which IARC should adhere, namely: 

honesty, integrity, independence, courtesy, and generosity.

The Agency′s good name and reputation, as well as the credibility to fulfil its mandate, are the reflection of a collective effort of IARC personnel to maintain and demonstrate the highest ethical and professional conduct. Everyone working at IARC has a responsibility to contribute to the mission and vision of the Agency, by applying fundamental ethical principles and relevant legislation to scientific research, and by avoiding any breach of research integrity. 

Achieving the above-mentioned standards requires a clear description of those standards and guidance on how to respect them. This information is contained in a number of key documents developed by IARC/WHO and described below. 


The Compilation of Policies and Practices on Ethical Principles and Conduct of IARC/WHO Staff describes the standards of ethical values and conduct that IARC/WHO expects from all personnel as well as those standards and rights that personnel may expect to have recognized and respected by IARC/WHO. The Compilation helps all personnel make ethical decisions based on the mission and core values of IARC/WHO, as follows:

  1. loyalty to the Agency′s goals, mission, priorities, and policies;
  2. integrity and honesty in actions and decisions that may affect IARC/WHO;
  3. impartiality and independence from external sources and authorities;
  4. discretion;
  5. respect for the diversity, dignity, worth, and equality of all persons;
  6. accountability; and
  7. technical excellence.

The roles, privileges, and responsibilities expected of any international civil servant are also reiterated in the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) Standards of Conduct for the International Civil Service, the WHO Staff Regulations and Staff Rules, and the WHO Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. The ICSC document is an excellent introduction for anyone working at IARC/WHO, because it provides the principles and practices expected of international civil servants. 

Lyon, France
Type of Organization:
United Nations System
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