Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Seminar — Raising Awareness and Facilitating Discussion

Research integrity is a cornerstone of HKU’s research endeavours, and the RCR seminars provide an opportunity to enhance knowledge on pertinent issues, stimulate discussion, and share experience, Professor Paul Tam (Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research)) said in his welcoming address. He stressed the importance of interactive sessions such as the seminar in enhancing the ongoing dialogue at HKU on responsible conduct of research.

Over 150 researchers from across the University’s 10 faculties attended this latest RCR seminar held on November 10, 2012. The event targeted those new to HKU and also welcomed existing staff who had not yet attended an RCR seminar. For new staff (and those promoted for the first time to relevant grades), attending an RCR seminar is now necessary both for the award of internal research grants and conference support through the University Research Committee and for research postgraduate student supervision (please see here for more details). 

Talks by experienced academics were interspersed with Q&A and breakout sessions, with further opportunity for more informal discussion during the tea break and lunch.

Professor Roland Chin, Deputy Vice Chancellor, outlined issues related to conflict of interest, including commercial involvement and academic situations, and individual and institutional level conflicts of interest. A variety of questionable research practices were discussed by Professor Terry Au, including plagiarism, falsification/fabrication and authorship problems. Dr Scott Smith introduced CITI, an online training programme for human subjects and scientific research ethics that can be accessed by HKU researchers (please see here for more details).

Group discussions focused on a selection of case studies and participants considered what issues were being faced and how the researchers should act responsibly in those situations. Later, parallel sessions specifically looked at ethics issues for research involving human subjects, splitting attendees into those from clinical faculties (session led by Professor Edward Lo) and from non-clinical faculties (session led by Professor John Bacon-Shone). 

The University’s RCR activities are overseen by Professor Frederick Leung, Director of Education and Development for Research Integrity. More information, including materials from the seminars, can be found on the RCR Information page of the Research Services website.