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Research Integrity Training Policy

Policy Introduction and Purpose

The ‘Concordat to support research integrity’, revised in 2019, calls upon universities, research institutes and individual researchers to ensure their work is underpinned by rigorous high standards. Employers of researchers must be able to demonstrate their commitment to the Concordat in order to meet regulatory and funder requirements.

The Concordat states that a research environment that helps to develop good research practice and embeds a culture of research integrity must include a commitment to Research Integrity training.

The University provides free-at-the-point-of-use access to a dedicated online Research Integrity Training Programme. This Policy outlines how this training can be accessed by University staff and students, and how compliance will be monitored.

Principles of this Policy

The University is committed to providing a safe and supportive environment for staff and students undertaking research and upholds the highest standards of rigour in research. In light of this, all staff and students delivering research are required to successfully complete the concise version of the online Training Programme. In addition, all research staff and students working with human participants should complete training on ‘Protecting Human Participants’.

  • All new staff involved in delivering research must complete the training as part of their mandatory Induction training.
  • Staff involved in delivering research must renew their training every three years.
  • Staff or students applying for sponsorship or ethics must complete the training, ensuring that the training has been completed within the last three years prior to submitting their application and must provide a certificate of completion of the training at the point of submission.
  • Staff submitting applications for internal research funding must complete the training, ensuring that the training has been completed within the last three years prior to submitting their application and must provide a certificate of completion of the training at the point of submission.
  • It is recommended that Heads of Department / line managers confirm that academic staff involved in delivering research have completed the training as part of the probation and promotion processes.

Scope and Definitions

This Policy applies to all University of Warwick staff and students involved in delivering research.

For the purposes of this policy, ‘staff’ includes all staff that are employed on Research Focussed, Teaching and Research, and Teaching Focussed contracts, who will undertake research or supervise students undertaking research. This Policy applies to everyone who has a contractual relationship with the University including all employees (both full-time and part-time across all grades) and those engaged via the Variable Monthly Staff (VAM) Payroll and Unitemps/other agency contracts.

For the purposes of this policy, ‘students’ includes all postgraduate research students, and postgraduate taught and masters students who will require ethics approval for their main projects. Undergraduate students who will require ethics approval for their main projects may complete departmental Research Integrity training at the discretion of their department, if approved by the University, and will therefore not be monitored under this policy.

This policy is applicable to the following areas:

  • Research Integrity training for new staff as part of Induction: this training applies to all new staff who have joined the University from September 2021.
  • Research Integrity training for existing staff and students involved in delivering research: this training applies to all staff and students as defined above and will come into effect during the academic year 2021/22.
  • Research Integrity training for staff and students applying for sponsorship, ethics, or internal research funding: this training will come into effect from October 2021.

Responsibilities

Policy Responsibilities

The Research Governance and Ethics Committee (RGAEC), led by the Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Research (Chair), will be responsible for the implementation and oversight of this policy.

Operational Responsibilities

Heads of Academic Departments (HoDs) should review compliance on an annual basis.

The Research Governance team within Research & Impact Services (R&IS) has responsibility for providing HoDs and the Chair of RGAEC with details of completion rates, and for reviewing completion of Research Integrity training for staff and students who apply for sponsorship or ethics. The Research Governance team are also responsible for communicating the Institutional Policy via Departmental communications and through the Research Ethics Committee network.

The Organisational Development team within HR has a responsibility for ensuring that Research Integrity training is included as a mandatory requirement in new researcher inductions https://warwick.ac.uk/services/od/welcomehub/essentials-copy/academics .

The Doctoral College has a responsibility to raise awareness of the policy with research students via existing communication channels.

Details of the Training

The training is provided online and details can be found here: https://warwick.ac.uk/services/od/ras/opportunities/development_support/research_integrity

Research Integrity training provides researchers with details of how they can meet their responsibilities, setting out the principles and practices of good research conduct: including planning research, conducting and interpreting research, and sharing and publicising data / evidence.

The Research Integrity concise course is specifically designed to allow researchers to quickly gain an overview of their responsibilities and key principles.

The Research Integrity full course provides a comprehensive overview of researcher responsibilities, guiding learners through the lifecycle of a research project.

Staff and students involved in delivering research are required to complete the concise version of the training as a minimum. It is recommended that PGRs complete the full version of the training.

Researchers working with human participants, human tissue and / or animals must also complete training relevant to these areas.

The content of the training will be updated as per sector developments and the information reviewed regularly to ensure that it is accurate and relevant.

Implementation

The handling of incidents of non-compliance

A failure to evidence completion of the training upon submission of an application for sponsorship or ethics may result in sponsorship or ethical approval being withheld.

Any instances of non-completion following a request from Research & Impact Services to a member of staff or student to undertake the training may result in escalation to the Head of Department or supervisor as appropriate.

The Process of Review & Revision

This policy will be reviewed on a biennial basis by the Head of Research Governance, Research & Impact Services and any recommendations for change will be considered by the Research Governance and Ethics Committee.

Compliance

Compliance with this policy will be monitored on an ongoing basis. The compliance focus will be on:

  • Training completion rates
  • Training engagement (i.e. participant feedback on training)

Research & Impact Services will report on compliance performance to RGAEC three times per academic year. Research & Impact Services will monitor sponsorship and ethics applications to ensure compliance.

Communication

As part of the on-going programme of communication around Research Integrity, the launch of the Institutional Policy will be supported by a dedicated programme of communication and awareness raising. This will include an all- staff email, presentations to Departments, Faculties, and the Research Staff Forum.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Equality Impact Screening completed December 2021.