The Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE) recently announced that all UK research institutions must comply with the Concordat to Support Research Integrity in order to be eligible for grants.
HEFCE stated, ‘we are party to a formal agreement or ‘concordat’ about standards and integrity in UK research. This sets out five commitments that assure Government, the wider public and the international community, that the highest standards of rigour and integrity will continue to underpin research in the UK.’
This condition will apply from 2013-14 and follows their consultation earlier in the year on implementing the concordat. HEFCE’s decision was prompted by a consultation on how best to implement the concordat. Of the respondents, 82 per cent agreed or strongly agreed that compliance with the concordat should be a condition of HEFCE grant funding. Only 11 per cent of respondents said that they disagreed or strongly disagreed with the suggestion. The 78 respondents included 59 universities.
The Concordat sets out five commitments:
- Maintaining the highest standards of rigour and integrity in all aspects of research;
- Ensuring that research is conducted according to appropriate ethical, legal and professional frameworks, obligations and standards;
- Supporting a research enivironment that is underpinned by a culture of integrity;
- Using transparent, robust and fair processes to deal with allegations of research misconduct should they arise;
- Working together to strengthen the integrity of research and to reviewing progress regularly and openly.
Universities UK developed the concordat with the funding and research councils, the Wellcome Trust and a number of government departments. It was launched on 11 July 2012.
This follows Research Councils UK’s announcement that demonstrating compliance with the concordat will be a condition of further funding for universities.