Research Integrity Statement 2017 - 2018

A message from the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research

The University of Bristol is globally recognised for the quality of its research, as evidenced by the Research Excellence Framework 2014 which ranked Bristol among the UK’s top research universities. In order to maintain and uphold the high standards of our research, we continue to undertake initiatives to ensure that integrity, ethics and excellence are at the core of our research activities and fully embedded in our research culture.

The University of Bristol is committed to meeting the Commitments of the Concordat to support Research Integrity, which was launched in July 2012 by Universities UK. The Commitments described in the Concordat are listed below with information in italics about those activities undertaken at the University in support of each of them:

We are committed to protecting the rights, dignity, health, safety and privacy of research participants, the welfare of animals and the integrity of the environment. As a centre for properly conducted, high quality research, the University is also committed to protecting the health, safety, rights and academic freedom of researchers as well as the reputation of the University.

The University’s quality assurance framework for research conduct includes: a core funded central Research Governance Team; ethics processes which are embedded within Faculties and Schools with strategic oversight from a Board of Trustees Committee chaired by a PVC; risk management processes to ensure that researchers are guided and supported in obtaining the necessary approvals; regularly reviewed policies and guidance; training and development opportunities for staff and students; an annual audit programme; study monitoring; and senior management support.

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A Task and Finish Group with representatives from Research and Enterprise Development, Finance Services, Safety and Health Services, Faculty Management, Staff Development, Human Resources and the Bristol Doctoral College was set-up to support the implementation of the Concordat. It looked at all areas of research integrity, harnessing current activity and recognising that future developments for students, researchers, supervisors and research managers should be harmonised by joint working. The University offers training & development opportunities for staff and students e.g. staff development courses covering ethics and integrity delivered for CREATE and early career researchers. Programme-specific postgraduate workshops are run in close collaboration with course leaders and sessions with a focus on research ethics and integrity were delivered for school away days in addition to annual Faculty Research Ethics Committee member training.  

Clear and effective policies in this area have been in place for a number of years; a formalised policy review process and implementation plan is underway to enhance understanding and awareness of these policies throughout the University.  The Research Excellence Framework 2014 has ranked Bristol among the UK’s top research universities.

The University investigated one allegation of potential research misconduct in each of the years 2015, 2016 and 2017.

We have developed an integrated internal approach to support and nurture research integrity with input from multi-professional teams and senior management oversight that can be evidenced against the RCUK expectations. Mapping against the UK Research Integrity Office tool enabled progress to be charted. 
Externally, active membership of the Russell Group Research Integrity Forum enables us to share best practice and benchmark against activity within the HEI sector.

Policies, regulations and guidance provide the framework in which we deliver our commitment to research integrity. These include:

The above are integrated into our governance and administrative processes and training programmes to ensure they are an active and recognisable part of our research culture. We will continue to strengthen this culture and would welcome any questions, suggestions or concerns about research integrity at the University of Bristol, please contact me through our Research Governance Team.

Professor Nishan Canagarajah, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise

University of Bristol, April 2018.