Responsible Conduct of Research – A Decade of Seminars to Help Enhance Understanding and Practice

The latest HKU seminar on responsible conduct of research (RCR) took place on Saturday June 6, 2020, at the Faculty of Medicine, attended by 188 academics. The seminars have been held regularly for staff for the past decade, with more than 3,000 staff having attended the 24 sessions to date.

The seminars are arranged to ensure that all HKU academics are familiar with and uphold the highest standards of conduct in their research, and the sessions aim to highlight the  importance of RCR, enhance understanding, introduce new ideas, and encourage ongoing discussion. Staff can share local and international experience on related issues and further strengthen their RCR knowledge.

At the latest session, Professor Alfonso Ngan, Acting Vice-President and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research), welcomed staff and highlighted the importance of integrity in research, and Professor Danny Chan (Director of Education and Development for Research Integrity) introduced the key issues and areas to be discussed.

Professor Simon Young (Deputy Director of Education and Development for Research Integrity) considered issues related to different types of conflictsof interest. A variety of questionable research practices were outlined by Professor Mai Har Sham (Associate Vice-President (Research)). Professor John Bacon-Shone (Department of Sociology) looked at the management of research data and records.

Group discussions enabled participants to consider a selection of case studies involving research integrity issues and discuss how they should be handled. Ethics issues and approval processes for research involving human subjects were discussed at parallel sessions led by officials from the respective ethical committees for clinical and non-clinical faculties, with a third parallel session considering mentor/mentee responsibilities and relationships.

Alongside the RCR seminars, HKU has implemented a number of initiatives in the past few years to promote this area, including revamping the University’s Policy on Research Integrity, providing funding to organise faculty-based events through the Research Integrity Funding Scheme, providing online RCR materials for self-education, and enhancing the research ethics education for RPg students. The University has also taken the lead to promote awareness of RCR in the global arena and has actively participated in international research integrity networks/activities, such as hosting the Asian and Pacific Rim Research Integrity Network Meeting in 2017 and the 6th World Conference on Research Integrity in 2019.

The next RCR seminar is planned for autumn 2020.


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