The UK Research Integrity Office (UKRIO) welcomes today’s statement from University College London (UCL) on the steps it has taken in recent years to improve its research governance systems. UKRIO assisted with this process and recognises the work UCL has done to strengthen its mechanisms for safeguarding research participants and ensuring the quality and ethical standards of its research.
It is essential that institutions have robust systems in place so that they can deal confidently with challenges to research integrity and patient safety should they arise. Research organisations must look carefully at the collaborative mechanisms that will allow them and their partners to live up to best practice guidance such as UKRIO’s Code of Practice for Research or the recent Concordat to Support Research Integrity.
James Parry, Chief Executive of UKRIO, said: ‘The UK has a well-earned reputation for excellent and innovative research but there is no reason for complacency. UKRIO hopes that UCL’s statement will prompt other research organisations to check that their own research governance systems are fit for purpose, ensuring that senior staff step up to the leadership roles set out in guidance from the Department of Health, regulators and other bodies.’
He added, ‘We welcome UCL’s recognition of the need to raise the profile of research governance issues in the UK, something that UKRIO has been doing for some time through our advice and support services, guidance publications and training courses. We will continue to identify and share good practice, providing expert support for researchers and the public.’
UKRIO’s response to the publication of ‘MMR and the development of a research governance framework in UCL’ is available to download:
Note: UKRIO is funded by subscriptions from research organisations. Over 30 universities subscribe to us, including University College London. We are an independent body and our subscribers do not influence whom we help or what advice we give, nor do they receive confidential information on our work.
Update 14 September 2012: the British Medical Journal, whose articles on the research conduct of Andrew Wakefield led UCL to issue its statement, has now reported on the publication of ‘MMR and the development of a research governance framework in UCL’.