In order to maximise the quality and societal impact of research, integrity should be an integral part throughout the research and innovation process and more generally within the scientific system, rather than being considered as an add-on and as a means of creating additional red tape. The new European code of conduct for research integrity is unambiguous: "It is of crucial importance that researchers master the knowledge, methodologies and ethical practices associated with their field".
Traditional methods of teaching ethics and research integrity do not appear to be efficient in raising awareness on these issues. There is consequently a need to develop innovative educational methods, engaging all those who are directly (e.g. young and senior researchers) or indirectly (e.g. pupils at all levels of education, educators and students educated in technical laboratory support studies) involved in research. In particular, the needs of two groups should be addressed: that of adolescents, and that of university students and early career researchers.Scope:
On the basis of existing successful educational practices, the action will develop and test innovative educational student-centred methods (formal and informal) aiming to promote a culture of research integrity and raise awareness of students and early career researchers. The above mentioned code of conduct for research integrity will be the reference document to be used as the basis for the proposed methodology. Different curricula and educational tools and methods should be developed for two groups: the first group will be composed of secondary school students; the second will be composed of undergraduate and graduate students in relevant fields (including technical education students) as well as early career researchers.
The curricula should be interactive, aiming to engage students and early career researchers in a dialogue. Such curricula should be adapted to the age of the students and take into account the gender dimension. The curricula may include, for example, drama, role play, service learning, case studies, debates, position papers and presentations as well as e-learning methods. These curricula should allow for plurality of opinions and for nuances, rather than a set of predetermined "right or wrong" answers.
The work will also cover the design of training programmes for educators that will be responsible for implementing the curricula. The work should be based (amongst others) on (i) a mapping of other existing innovative teaching techniques and (ii) an analysis of the benefits and potential impact of the proposed methodology compared to existing educational practices. The action will take into account and build on the output of the research projects financed by this Science with and for Society programme that covers training and educational aspects of research integrity (e.g. PRINTEGER, ENERI, project funded via SwafS-27-2017).
Close cooperation with the European Network of Research Ethics and Research Integrity is required.
In line with the strategy for EU international cooperation in research and innovation (COM (2012)479), international cooperation is encouraged.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of the order of EUR 2.50 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.Expected Impact:
The implementation of this action will improve current educational methods, raise awareness of students and early career researchers and contribute to the establishment of a research integrity culture. The innovative methods for teaching research integrity developed by this project will improve short and long-term educational and training results and will contribute to the responsible conduct of research and research excellence.Cross-cutting Priorities:
Research integrity should be here understood in its wide meaning, in particular as the respect of principles and practices which ensure a responsible conduct or research. It therefore covers the necessity to adhere to the highest ethics standards, notably related to the duty of care, in designing, performing, publishing, reviewing and communicating research.