Responsible conduct in research (RCR) is an essential part of good science. Traditionally, it was assumed that explicit training in RCR was either unnecessary or was provided through the normal process of preparing individuals for a scientific career. However, experience over the last several decades suggests that a more explicit training program is necessary. Furthermore, a strong case exists for combining training in RCR with training in other aspects of professionalism, including the ability to communicate scientific results orally and in peer-reviewed manuscripts, teaching, and mentoring. This is because many of the key aspects of ethical behavior are embedded in those skills and may not be included in conventional RCR courses. The NIH has recently issued requirements for RCR training that recommend a minimum of eight hours of training, provided in person by research faculty. Unfortunately, many institutions are not prepared to provide such instruction, particularly given the large number of individuals that are now required to receive it and the likelihood that this number will continue to expand. Over the past 25 years the PIs have developed an educational program that provides graduate students, postdocs, and junior faculty with explicit training in RCR within the context of instruction in professional skills. In addition, for the past 16 years they have offered an annual trainer-of-trainers conference in which faculty obtain the instruction and materials necessary to establish such programs at their own institutions. In this application, funding is requested to extend the PIs'efforts at disseminating that educational model. There are five specific aims.
Aim 1 : Continue to develop training modules in RCR and in professional skills that will enable faculty to establish courses at their home institutions in RCR and professional skills. These modules will be designed to fulfill and expand on NIH requirements.
Aim 2 : To bring together an instructional team that will work together to provide that training. Over the years the PIs have invited a great many individuals to provide lectures on RCR and professional skills;from that group they have identified several outstanding individuals, each of whom has the knowledge, the professional standing, and the teaching skills to convey the necessary information. This team, which forms the Organizational Committee, is well balanced with respect to gender and ethnicity.
Aim 3 : To recruit 40 qualified participants per year who are committed to implementing training at their home institution. Individuals will be selected based on an application that includes a description of their experience, their rationale for attending the conference, and their plans to utilize the training. Care will be taken to recruit a diverse group of attendees with regard to gender, ethnicity, ability, and the types of individuals they plan to train.
Aim 4 : To carefully evaluate the effectiveness of this project, through on-site anonymous feedback from conference participants and annual follow-up surveys of past participants. Data will be used to improve subsequent activities.
Aim 5 : To further disseminate this educational model and our results at meetings, in articles published in relevant journals, and on the Internet.
Responsible conduct in research is an essential part of good science, as are a number of general professional skills, such as the ability to communicate scientific results orally and published manuscripts, teaching, and being able to obtain funds for research. This proposal is designed to train faculty from throughout the United States establish courses in research ethics and professional development at their home institutions.