November 2016 CÚRAM ROLLS OUT NEW NATIONAL TRAINING INITIATIVE IN RESEARCH INTEGRITY
Excellent science, good scientific practice and the highest ethical and professional standards are imperative to success in research. CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices, based at NUI Galway is reinforcing the importance of responsible behaviour as a fundamental component of quality, publically-funded research, by launching the first Irish national training initiative in Research Integrity.
The collaborative endeavour between CÚRAM and its six academic partners (NUI Galway, UCC, UL, UCD, TCD and RCSI) trains young research leaders of the future to be upstanding, responsible scientists and mentors. The first CÚRAM Research Integrity Module was launched this October, when 38 CÚRAM-funded participants, including post-graduate students, post-doctoral researchers and research associates, attended from all 6 of the partner institutes. Prof. Alan Baird of University College Dublin and Prof. David Brayden (Co-Director of CÚRAM) are coordinating the module, which is being facilitated by Dr. Ruth Dooley, Education Co-ordinator at CÚRAM.
The key learning objectives of this module are for participants to understand the key responsibilities they have as researchers, to identify the challenges they may face in meeting those responsibilities and to be aware of strategies for dealing with pressures and difficult situations. As well as the e-learning core component of the five credit-bearing module being undertaken over a 12 week semester, participants must take part in two onsite interactive workshops, the first of which took place on the 20th October at NUI Galway.
“The workshop was a great success and covered diverse aspects of research integrity including professional responsibilities, dealing with misconduct, mentoring, conflicts of interest and data ownership” said Dr Dooley. “The participants were split into groups and given different scenarios to discuss and to decide what their approach would be, which resulted in a very animated and interesting discussion on the “grey areas” of research”.
The next workshop will be held on the 8th December and will focus on issues such as plagiarism, authorship, peer review and responsibility to the public and society.
“Research integrity is a critical component of modern formal training of PhDs and postdoctoral researchers as it ensures that the reputation of our scientists and the quality of our work is maintained so that our partners and peers can rely on any data or other research outputs to the benefit of both society and the economy” said Prof. David Brayden, Co-Director of CÚRAM.
One of the key outputs of this module is the compilation of an “Individual Integrity Portfolio” by each participant where researchers record their notes and reflections on the issues discussed throughout the course as well as compiling a list of important links and contact details relevant to the institute they are based in. The aim is to help researchers to locate and familiarize themselves with institutional or discipline-specific policies and guidelines and provides a useful reference manual for the duration of their individual research careers.