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Research Governance

Research governance is the collection of systems and procedures that standards for research, define mechanisms to deliver standards and describe monitoring and assessment arrangements.  The main mechanisms for delivering this at the University are the Research Ethics Committee, The Research Ethics Policy and the Research Office.

The Research Ethics Policy seeks to empower individuals to take responsibility and negotiate ethical issues arising from their research activity. Within this context the University Research Ethics Committee has a duty to undertake ethical review and gain approval of research proposals by staff and students of the University of Chichester. The Research Ethics Committee may withhold approval for research that is not in compliance with the Research Ethics Policy or the ethical guidelines that have been agreed by the Research Ethics Committee. The Research Ethics Committee reserves the right to remove items that contravene the Research Ethics Policy from the University Research Repository and to request that the outcomes of research activity made available publically through other media be withdrawn. The Committee shall have the authority to investigate breaches of ethical practice in research, and may recommend that further investigation is undertaken in line with the University’s Disciplinary Policy.

The Research Ethics Committee is chaired by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Sustainability and Enterprise) and its membership comprises of active researchers and key professional services staff with responsibilities relating to university research activity.

A key responsibility of the Committee is to oversee applications for ethical review in accordance with the University Ethics Policy.

Overarching Principles of Ethical Conduct in Research at the University

  • The integrity of any research depends not only on its rigour, but also on its ethical adequacy.
  • Research should not cause harm and should, where possible, benefit participants 
  • The researcher should normally provide participants with clearly communicated information in advance.
  • Participants should be free from coercion of any kind and should not be pressured to participate.
  • The researcher has an obligation to seek the informed consent of participants.
  • The researcher should obtain informal consent when third parties are affected. The researcher has a special obligation to seek the consent of vulnerable participants or the assent of their representatives.
  • Research relationships are frequently characterised by disparities of power and status. Despite this, research relationships should be characterised, wherever possible, by trust, honesty and integrity.
  • The researcher should strive to maintain participants’ confidentiality and anonymity 
  • The researcher must comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 in collecting and storing research data and the University Data and Systems Security Policy.

The University is aligned to Concordat to Support Research Integrity and operates a Researcher Code of Conduct.

Researcher Code of Conduct

Research undertaken at the University is underpinned by the highest standards of rigour and integrity. The University adopts the following principles:

EXCELLENCE: The University and its researchers should strive for excellence when conducting research and aim to produce and disseminate work of the highest quality. This Code, its Principles and its Standards are intended to support these goals.

HONESTY: The University should work to create and maintain a culture of research that fosters and supports honesty in research. Researchers should be honest in relation to their own research and that of others. They should do their utmost to ensure the accuracy of data and results, acknowledge the contributions of others, and neither engage in misconduct nor conceal it.

INTEGRITY: The University and its researchers must comply with all legal and ethical requirements relevant to their field of study. They should declare any potential or actual conflicts of interest relating to research and where necessary take steps to resolve them.

CO-OPERATION: The University and its researchers should promote the open exchange of ideas, research methods, data and results and their discussion, scrutiny and debate, subject to any considerations of confidentiality.

ACCOUNTABILITY: The University and its researchers should recognise that in and through their work they are ultimately accountable to the general public and should act accordingly. They should ensure that any research undertaken complies with any agreements, terms and conditions relating to the project, and allows for proper governance and transparency. Researchers should follow the requirements and guidance of any professional bodies in their field of research. Researchers who are members of a regulated profession must follow the requirements and guidance of the body regulating their profession.

TRAINING AND SKILLS: The University should provide training and opportunities for development for their researchers, and the necessary resources to enable them to conduct research to the required standards. They should support researchers in identifying unmet needs for training and development. Researchers should ensure that they have the necessary skills, training and resources to carry out research, in the proposed research team or through collaboration with specialists in relevant fields, and report and resolve any unmet needs identified. The University’s staff development programme is available on the University Intranet. The University’s commitment to the development of its researchers is acknowledged in the EC HR Excellence in Research Award and the associated action plan.

SAFETY: The University and its researchers should ensure the dignity, rights, safety and wellbeing of all involved in research and avoid unreasonable risk or harm to research subjects, patients, participants, researchers and others. They should report and address any concerns relating to the dignity, rights, safety and well-being of those involved in research. Research should be initiated and continued only if the anticipated benefits justify the risks involved; this is within the context of all the Code as whole, the University’s Research Ethics Policy and the University’s portfolio.

Breaches of the code

The University has procedures for the investigation of misconduct in research available on the University’s website. These procedures are in addition to the University’s disciplinary procedures and are based upon the Procedure for the Investigation of Misconduct in Research produced by the UK Research Integrity Office (2008).

Links

Contacts:

For general queries relating to researcher conduct and research integrity:

Dr Andy Dixon, Director of Research, a.dixon@chi.ac.uk, 01243 812125

For matters relating to research misconduct:

Professor Catherine Harper, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, c.harper@chi.ac.uk 01243 816000

Or Dr Mark Mason, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Experience), m.mason@chi.ac.uk 01243 816422

There have been no cases of Research Misconduct reported at the University in 2016/17.

Academic standards for research degrees are covered under postgraduate research and the relevant regulations.