Irish Research Funders support over 8,500 researchers to take part in Research Integrity training
More than 8,500 researchers have availed of a Research Integrity training programme established as a pilot programme by the National Research Integrity Forum in January 2018. The programme is fully financed by the Irish research funders and has the capacity to train up to 15,000 staff and students involved in research in the Irish higher education system over three years. The training programme is the first national programme of its kind in Ireland, facilitating equal access for researchers in every higher education institution and research performing organisation with the aim of supporting the public’s confidence in the integrity of the Irish research system.
Provision of Research Integrity training for students and staff is one of the key priorities of the National Research Integrity Forum which is jointly managed by the Irish Universities Association and the Technological Higher Education Association. Membership of the Forum includes research funders, research performing organisations and other stakeholders such as Quality and Qualifications Ireland, the Royal Irish Academy and the Higher Education Authority.
The research integrity training programme was established by the Forum in response to the publication of the National Policy Statement on Ensuring Research Integrity in Ireland. The aim of this statement is to commit the main organisations in Irish research to the highest standards of integrity in carrying out their research so that partners, the public and other stakeholders, and the international research community, have full confidence in the Irish research system.
Anita Maguire, Chair of the Research Integrity Forum and VP for Research & Innovation at UCC stated: “We are delighted to see researchers engaging in this pilot training programme in such high numbers. The fact that the research funding organisations have come together to support this national initiative is of enormous benefit to the higher education sector. Within UCC it has been very beneficial in encouraging conversations within research teams about how to avoid poor practice when carrying out research. A recent EU Mutual Learning Exercise on Research Integrity has praised Ireland’s approach of providing training on a national basis.”
The programme is funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), Enterprise Ireland, the Irish Research Council (IRC), the Health Research Board (HRB), Teagasc, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Marine Institute, the Department of Agriculture Food & Marine, the Irish Universities Association, and the Technological Higher Education Association.
Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, stated “The pilot is one of a number of actions that SFI is supporting to ensure that the public can place their trust in research and the scientific record. Regular training, drawing on the very latest thinking in the area of Research Integrity, is one way of ensuring that research is performed to the highest standards of professionalism and rigour, maintaining Ireland’s reputation as a leader in research excellence, and further enhancing its competitiveness in research and innovation.”
According to Dr Maura Hiney, Head of Post-Award and Evaluation at the HRB, “the pilot has enabled us to implement a policy change to mandatory RI training of the whole research team, not just junior researchers. We see this on-line training platform as very complementary to face-to-face interactive training and the development of evidence-led RI training curricula in Ireland that draw on international best practice.”
Peter Brown, Director of the Irish Research Council, stated: “The IRC is very pleased to be supporting this joint national initiative, and it is an excellent example of cross-agency collaboration. Enhancing research integrity standards and awareness, by training PhD Students as well as experienced PIs, strengthens the Irish research and innovation eco-system. The pilot training, implemented across many thousands of researchers in Ireland will enhance further the reputation and competitiveness of Irish research and innovation.”
Research Integrity is becoming increasingly important at home and abroad. All award-holders with funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme must adhere to the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity, which requires HEIs to offer Research Integrity training. These requirements will be even stronger in Horizon Europe, the next EU programme for research and innovation. The majority of the Irish research funders have made Research Integrity training a mandatory requirement for all award-holders and their research teams. Researchers who are interested in completing the training should contact their institution’s Research Office for details.
For more information please contact:
Dr Jennifer Brennan, Director of Research, Development & Innovation, THEA: (086) 0769730;Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org
Róisín O’Connell, Head of Communications, THEA: (087) 9193333; email@example.com
Notes to editors:
The National Forum on Research Integrity was established in June 2015. It is coordinated by the Irish Universities Association (IUA) and the Technological Higher Education Association (THEA). The Forum membership is drawn from research funders, research performing organisations and other relevant organisations. The Forum is chaired by Professor Anita Maguire from University College Cork and the Deputy Chairperson is Dr. Jennifer Brennan from the Technological Higher Education Association. It is tasked with facilitating and coordinating research integrity in Ireland in Innovation 2020, the national research and innovation strategy, and reports annually to the Innovation 2020 Implementation Group on progress against key actions.
The Technological Higher Education Association (THEA) is the representative advocacy body for the technological higher education sector in Ireland.