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Research Ethics and Integrity

Introduction

Research integrity means conducting research in a manner that evidences the highest possible professional standards and quality. This is applicable across the full research process, including planning and conducting, recording and report dissemination, and application. The University is a signatory to the Universities UK Concordat to Support Research Integrity (2019) and is committed to its five core principles.

Research ethics represents one critical aspect of integrity, focusing on the principles of respect for persons, equality, informed consent, confidentiality, and avoidance of conflicts of interest.

This page contains the University of Cumbria's policies, practices, and guidance on research integrity and ethics with a view to promoting best practices in the ethical conduct of research.



Research Integrity

Our staff and students must maintain high professional standards through the conduct of their research. The University has policies and procedures in place to ensure this, outlined in the University's Code of Practice for Research. This Code sets out the principles of good conduct in research to be adhered by and directly supports the University's commitment to the Universities UK Concordat to Support Research Integrity (2019).

SUPPORT TO STAFF AND STUDENTS

The first point of contact for anyone wanting more information on matters of research integrity is the Chair of the Research Ethics Panel and Director of the Institute for Arts, Dr Colette Conroy, or the Research Manager, James Hodge.

The Director of Applied Research & Knowledge Exchange, Professor Karen Shaw is the confidential liaison for whistle-blowers or any other person wishing to raise concerns about the integrity of research being conducted at the University. The process for dealing with allegations of research misconduct is outlined in section 5.1 of the Code of Practice for Research). Allegations of misconduct in research must be provided in writing to Dr Shaw.

Research governance is provided through our Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee of which the Research Ethics Panel is a sub-group.

ANNUAL REPORTING

The University of Cumbria is a signatory to the Universities UK Concordat to Support Research Integrity (2019), a commitment by 136 UK universities to support and embed a culture of research integrity.

In line with the requirements of the Concordat to Support Research Integrity, the University’s Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee reviews and approves an annual statement summarising how research integrity is promoted and supported, including details of related activities undertaken across the University. This statement also includes anonymised information about how allegations of misconduct in research have been assessed and investigated. This information is also provided to University Board. This statement is available here Research Integrity Statement 2020-21.



Research Ethics

Research ethics is concerned with safeguarding human participants and the welfare of animal subjects in research, and the University seeks to protect the rights, privacy and welfare of participants, as well as their personal data. It is an essential component of research integrity alongside scientific rigour and professional conduct.

As outlined in the Research Ethics Policy and Code of Practice for Research, research projects involving human participants, or live subjects (including animals), or data that could potentially identify human subjects, must undergo Research Ethics review through an approval process. This includes staff and students.

Any projects involving research within the NHS in England must be undertaken through the Health Research Authority (HRA). Where this is required for a project, this supersedes the University ethics process. Details on HRA application can be found on the HRA website.

The below section details the policies and procedures relating to research ethics at the University of Cumbria. Research projects must obtain ethical approval before the research commences. Failure to obtain approval may also result in grounds for research misconduct. Procedures for research misconduct are outlined in the Code of Practice for Research.



Research Ethics Approval Process - Staff & Postgraduate Students

Research Ethics Approval Process - Undergraduate & Postgraduate Taught

Research Ethics Guidance and Templates

Contacts

Integrity and Ethics Training

The University offers the following training resources on ethics and integrity. Training is available annually to staff and postgraduate research students via Research Skills Development Programme – ‘Ethical Research and Ethical Approval session. This can be booked via the Research & Knowledge Exchange StaffHub page and BlackBoard. Specific training for Research Supervisors is available via the Research Supervisor Workshops & Research Integrity, Ethics, and the Role of the Supervisor. This can be booked via the Research & Knowledge Exchange StaffHub page. It is compulsory for all staff to complete the following mandatory training:

  • Information Security, Being Safe Online and GDPR
  • Safeguarding


HR Excellence in Research Award

The University of Cumbria is committed to supporting and developing the careers of its researchers. The HR Research Excellence Award process provides a framework to support this and incorporates both the QAA Code of Practice for Research Degree Programmes and the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers.

6 Year Progress Report – HR Excellence in Research Award

Action Plan – HR Excellence in Research Award 2022-2024

Action Plan - HR Excellence in Research Award 2020-2022



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