Research governance and integrity


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"Ensuring high standards of research governance and integrity"

This area of the website provides information and advice for staff and students on the policies and procedures for governing good research practice and for investigating and reporting misconduct in research.

Governance

Research governance ensures that all research, undertaken by both staff and students, is carried out to the highest standards.

All members of the University of Sunderland research community are expected to adhere to the highest professional standards of research integrity.

Research ethics

All of our research must be conducted in accordance with:

The University's Research Ethics principles
The University's Professional Codes of Practice
The law

Find out about our Research Ethics principles and the role of the Research Ethics Committee.

Research Integrity Concordat

As a University, we are committed to ensuring that our researchers know and understand what is expected of them. 

At the University of Sunderland we comply with the formal agreement or ‘concordat’ about standards and integrity in UK research. The concordat embodies commitments that will assure Government, the wider public and the international community that research in the UK continues to be underpinned by the highest standards or rigour and integrity.

Read more about the Research Integrity Concordat.

Integrity

Research integrity is about honesty and transparency in how you conceive, conduct and report your research. You want to be fair and accurate in your presentation of interactions with peers, open about any (potential) conflicts of interest within your research and ensure your research participant is protected, maintaining their dignity and rights at all times.

We also operate strict policies and procedures and comply with relevant guidelines.

Code of practice

We comply with the formal agreement of the concordat concerning standards and integrity in research.

Read more about the University of Sunderland’s Research Code of Practice.

Career Development of Researchers Concordat

The University is fully committed to supporting and developing our research staff and adheres to the seven key principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers:

  • Recognition of the importance of recruiting, selecting and retaining researchers with the highest potential to achieve excellence in research
  • Researchers are recognised and valued by their employing organisation as an essential part of their organisation's human resources and a key component of their overall strategy to develop and deliver world-class research
  • Researchers are equipped and supported to be adaptable and flexible in an increasingly diverse, mobile, global research environment
  • The importance of researchers' personal and career development, and lifelong learning, is clearly recognised and promoted at all stages of their career
  • Individual researchers share the responsibility for and need to pro-actively engage in their own personal and career development and lifelong learning
  • Diversity and equality must be promoted in all aspects of the recruitment and career management of researchers
  • The sector and all stakeholders will undertake regular and collective review of their progress in strengthening the attractiveness and sustainability of research careers in the UK

Read the full concordat.

In order to underline and reinforce our commitment to the Concordat and to ensure that we are adhering to, and applying the principles embodied therein, we have undertaken a full and comprehensive review of our processes and procedures with respect to our recruitment, support and development of researchers. This has included a gap analysis undertaken during the academic year 2012/13. Where it was felt that improvements could be made, these have been included within an Action Plan. Our actions are:

  • Pilot “Principal Investigator Development Programme”
  • Ensure that PIs and line managers of researchers are aware of their responsibilities and that all researchers are appraised
  • Pilot ‘Broadening Horizons’ course for researchers
  • Update website to provide support resources for PIs and researchers
  • Apply for renewal of Athena Swan Bronze Award
  • Pilot “How to be an Effective Researcher” course
  • Review careers guidance provision for researchers
  • Review Induction programme for researchers
  • Review mentoring arrangements for researchers
  • Introduce Personal Development Planning support for Researchers
  • Review researcher representation on university committees, and implement any changes
  • Set up Research Concordat Steering Group to monitor and review our Action Plan

View the full original Gap Analysis and Action Plan (.pdf)

Two-year review process (2015)

The review group agreed the scope of the internal review, structure of the report and process for updating the action plan. The report will be received and considered by the University's Research and Innovation Committee and will continue to monitor progress throughout the duration of the action plan:

Two year Report - HR Excellence in Research Award (.pdf)

Action plan for 2015-2017 (.pdf)

Four-year review process (2017)

A Research Concordat Steering Group was formed in 2013 to guide, monitor and review the implementation of the Action Plan. The group meets on an annual basis to assess and update the action plan and reports to the Research and Innovation Group, a sub-group of the Academic Board. The evaluation of the implementation plan including revised action plan is detailed below:

HR Excellence Four Year Progress Report 2017

HR Excellence in Research Action Plan 2017-2019