Policy

Responsible Research Management Framework Policy

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 1.0 Purpose and Scope

The conduct of research at the University of Queensland (UQ or the University) requires the University to identify and manage legal and regulatory obligations relating to research, and to ensure research is conducted in a manner that is consistent with the University’s values and policies. 

This policy provides UQ's overarching framework for ensuring that research is consistent with the University’s legal and regulatory obligations, and that research is conducted responsibly, ethically and with integrity.  Policies and procedures relating to specific aspects of the conduct of research are nested under this framework.

This policy is underpinned by:

Staff, students and affiliates at the University are required to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the Code and the standards set out in the relevant UQ code or charter:

This policy does not attempt to replace legislation or broader University policies or guidance. The intention is to ensure that all researchers understand their ethical, legal and regulatory compliance obligations.

This policy applies to all staff, students and affiliates who conduct, or assist with the conduct of, research at, or on behalf of, UQ.

2.0 Principles and Key Requirements

The following principles are taken directly from the Code and apply to all research activities at the University.

  1. Honesty in the development, undertaking and reporting of research.
  2. Rigour in the development, undertaking and reporting of research.
  3. Transparency in declaring interests and reporting research methodology, data and findings.
  4. Fairness in the treatment of others.
  5. Respect for research participants, the wider community, animals and the environment.
  6. Recognition of the right of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to be engaged in research that affects or is of particular significance to them.
  7. Accountability for the development, undertaking and reporting of research.
  8. Promotion of responsible research practices.

2.1 Research governance and delegations

  1. The Vice-Chancellor delegates powers in the area of research to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) in accordance with the Delegations Policy.
    1. The Vice-Chancellor legally confers Senate powers or functions as delegations. Delegations relevant to research include financial and contract sub-delegations, HR authorisation, and sub-delegation of the Responsible Conduct of Research.
  2. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) is responsible for enhancing the University’s performance and reputation in research, research training, and research collaboration with external stakeholders, nationally and internationally.
  3. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) may seek advice from the University Research and Innovation Committee, a sub-committee of the Academic Board, as appropriate. The University Research and Innovation Committee is a key mechanism for developing the strategy and policy to ensure sustained excellence and impact in research and knowledge transfer.

2.2 Researcher conduct

  1. While undertaking University research responsibilities or activities, researchers must comply with the laws of the State and the Commonwealth (section 6.2 lists relevant legislation, this is not an exhaustive list).
  2. All researchers must act in accordance with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.

2.3 Disclosure of interests and activities

  1. Staff are required to at least annually disclose their interests in accordance with the Conflict of Interest Policy through the below registers:
  2. Sources of research funding must be disclosed so that the veracity of research outputs can be assessed properly and on an informed basis. All sources of financial and in-kind support for a research output must be disclosed in the acknowledgements of the research output in accordance with the Authorship Procedure and the Administration of Research Funding Policy.

2.4 Risk management

  1. Risk management of research activities must be conducted in accordance with the Enterprise Risk Management Policy and Enterprise Compliance Management Framework, and the Senate approved Risk Appetite Statement.
  2. Risk in clinical trials involving humans must be managed and approved in accordance with the Clinical Trials Governance Procedure and Clinical Trials Risk Assessment and Management Plan.

2.5 Work health and safety

  1. The University aspires to zero harm for all staff, students, visitors, controlled entities, contractors and volunteers across all University operations and sites.
  2. All staff must comply with requirements of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and related OH&S procedures developed by the University, School or Organisational Unit when conducting research.
  3. The Health, Safety and Wellness Policy establishes the University's overall health, safety and wellness objectives and demonstrates the University's commitment to continual improvement of UQ's health and safety performance.

2.6 Collaborative research

  1. UQ is committed to complying with the Guidelines to Counter Foreign Interference in the Australian University Sector and applicable laws including the Australian Foreign Relations (State and Territory Arrangements) Act 2020 under which research activities may be subject to review for consistency with Australia’s foreign policy.
  2. Collaborative research is subject to University policies and procedure and should be conducted in accordance with the Code and the NHMRC Collaborative Research Guide.
  3. Researchers looking to undertake research requiring a research contract should advise their relevant Research Partnerships Manager at a very early stage to ensure the appropriate insurance, risk, and due diligence is built into the agreement.
  4. Collaborative payments must be conducted in accordance with the Research and Consultancy Costing and Pricing Procedure and the Contract Research and Grants Financial Management Procedure.
  5. International Agreements must be progressed in accordance with the International Agreements Policy and Procedure.

2.7 Defence export controls and sanction regimes

  1. All research activities must be conducted in compliance with Australia’s export controls and sanctions legislation.
  2. Research activities involving a military end-use, assisting a Weapons of Mass Destruction program, or involving items on the Defence and Strategic Goods List may be restricted or may require a permit from the Department of Defence to proceed, in accordance with the Export Controls and Sanction Regimes Procedure.
  3. Research activities involving a connection with a sanctioned country require assessment for compliance with Australia’s sanctions regimes, in accordance with the Export Controls and Sanction Regimes Procedure. Connections include staff/students/visitors with citizenship in a sanctioned country, collaboration or the provision of goods or services to an individual or entity in a sanctioned country, or receiving funding from an individual or entity in a sanctioned country.

2.8 Management of research funds

  1. Research and consultancy funds generated at UQ are University-owned are usually not be transferred to other institutions when staff members leave the employment of the University. Some types of research grants are exempt, dependent on the terms of the funding provider.
  2. The University will only accept research funding that is consistent with the University’s values, upholds human rights, academic freedom and maintains academic integrity, in accordance with the Administration of Research Funding Policy.
  3. Applications for external research funding or scholarships must be authorised by the appropriate delegate in accordance with the Administration of Research Funding Policy.
  4. Agreements and contracts governing research funding may only be entered into in accordance with the Financial and Contract Sub-delegations Procedure.
  5. Research funding must be managed in accordance with the Contract Research and Grants Financial Management Procedure and the Administration of Research Funding Policy.

2.9 Intellectual property

  1. A function of the University is to commercialise for the public’s benefit, research and knowledge. Unless explicitly stated in the Intellectual Property Policy and Procedure, UQ owns all IP created by researchers in or during the course of engagement with the University, or when using University resources.  
  2. Intellectual property created through the use of University resources will be managed in accordance with the Intellectual Property Policy and Procedures.

2.10 Data, information management and privacy

  1. The responsible conduct of research includes within its scope the appropriate generation, collection, access, use, analysis, disclosure, storage, retention, disposal, sharing and re-use of data and information.
  2. Research data and information must be managed in accordance with the requirements set out in Research Data Management Procedure Information Management Policy and its Procedures, Privacy Management Policy, and the NHMRC Management of Data and Information in Research Guide.
  3. The minimum requirements for research data retention and disposal are detailed in the University Sector Retention and Disposal Schedule.
  4. Digital research data and primary materials must be stored and classified in an appropriately secure and backed-up University managed information system. The University strongly recommends the use of the Research Data Manager (RDM) system and Digital Research Notebooks (DRN).

2.11 Ethics approval

  1. The principle of respect underpins all research decisions and actions conducted with research participants, the wider community, animals and the environment.
  2. Researchers must conduct research in accordance with the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research, Good Clinical Practice principles, and/or the Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes, as applicable.
  3. Researchers must ensure that appropriate approvals are obtained from the relevant ethics committee prior to the commencement of research, and that conditions of any approvals are adhered to during the course of research.
  4. The ethical acceptability of projects with human participants is assessed by a Human Research Ethics Committee or Low and Negligible Risk Committee, and applications must be made in accordance with the Human Research Ethics Procedure.
  5. The ethical acceptability of projects with animals is assessed by an Animal Ethics Committee, and applications must be made in accordance with the Animal Ethics in Teaching and Research Procedure.
  6. The Ethics Advisory Group provides ethics advice for activities that do not meet the requirements for Human Research Ethics Committee or Animal Ethics Committee review.

2.12 Research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and Communities

  1. The University aims to ensure that recognition, protection, and respect is given to Indigenous Peoples and their culture. Research conducted must be safe, respectful, responsible, high quality and of benefit to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities, and in accordance with:
  2. Research with and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and their communities must be founded on a collaborative design process with all parties working together to develop the project.
  3. Indigenous Knowledge may only be obtained, appropriated, claimed or commercialised on mutually agreed terms including a fair and equitable sharing of benefits with the appropriate holders of such Knowledge in accordance with the Intellectual Property Policy.
  4. Human Research Ethics Committee review is required if a research project involves, targets, or recruits Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and/or community. Approval must be sought in accordance with the Human Research Ethics Procedure.

2.13 Responsible publication practice

  1. All research outputs must be managed in accordance with the Open Access Procedure.
  2. Authorship must be assigned fairly and consistent with the Code, in accordance with the Authorship Procedure.
  3. Peer review is the impartial and independent assessment of research by others working in the same or related field. Researchers with the appropriate expertise to participate in peer review should do so as a vital contribution to the research endeavour, this activity should be conducted in accordance with the Responsible Publishing Guideline and the NHMRC Peer Review Guide.

2.14 Supervision of higher degree by research candidates and early career researchers

  1. Supervisors are responsible for overseeing research proposals developed by those whom they supervise, including providing any necessary advice regarding compliance with the Responsible Research Management Framework Policy and the Code.
  2. UQ strongly encourages that supervision of researchers be conducted in accordance with the NHMRC Supervision Guide.
  3. Supervisors of higher degree by research candidates should familiarise themselves with the Higher Degree by Research Candidates topic within the PPL.

2.15 Complaints and breaches

  1. A breach of this policy or the Code may arise where a researcher fails to meet the principles and responsibilities set out in the Code and/or this policy.
  2. Complaints about the conduct of research, including potential breaches, will be dealt with in accordance with the Managing Complaints about the Conduct of Research Procedure, Research Misconduct – Higher Degree by Research Students Procedure and/or Student Integrity and Misconduct Policy, as applicable.
  3. Higher degree by research candidates with a grievance or complaint with their supervisor should follow the processes under the Grievance Resolution Process
  4. Early career researchers with a grievance or complaint with their supervisor should follow the processes within the Complaints Management web page.
  5. UQ strongly encourages the self-disclosure of potential breaches.

3.0 Roles, Responsibilities and Accountabilities

3.1 The University

UQ is responsible for encouraging and supporting responsible research conduct. To foster responsible research conduct, UQ will:

  • establish and maintain good governance and management practices for responsible research conduct,
  • identify and comply with relevant laws, regulations, guidelines and policies related to the conduct of research,
  • develop and maintain the currency and ready availability of a suite of policies and procedures which ensure that institutional practices are consistent with the principles and responsibilities of the Code,
  • provide ongoing training and education that promotes and supports responsible research conduct for all researchers and those in other relevant roles,
  • ensure supervisors of research trainees have the appropriate skills, qualifications and resources,
  • identify and train Research Integrity Advisors who assist in the promotion and fostering of responsible research conduct and provide advice to those with concerns about potential breaches of the Code,
  • support the responsible dissemination of research findings. Where necessary, take action to correct the record in a timely manner,
  • provide access to facilities for the safe and secure storage and management of research data, records and primary materials and, where possible and appropriate, allow access and reference,
  • facilitate the prevention and detection of potential breaches of the Code,
  • provide mechanisms to receive concerns or complaints about potential breaches of the Code,
  • investigate and resolve potential breaches of the Code,
  • ensure that the process for managing and investigating concerns or complaints about potential breaches of the Code is timely, effective and in accord with procedural fairness,
  • support the welfare of all parties involved in an investigation of a potential breach of the Code,
  • base findings of investigations on the balance of probabilities and ensure any actions are commensurate with the seriousness of the breach.

3.2 Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) is responsible for:

  • the promulgation, implementation and review of this policy, and
  • fostering responsible research conduct.

3.3 Researchers

Researchers are responsible for upholding the principles of the Code through core behaviours that characterise the responsible conduct of research, and will:

  • support a culture of responsible research conduct at their institution and in their field of practice,
  • provide guidance and mentorship on responsible research conduct to other researchers or research trainees under their supervision and, where appropriate, monitor their conduct,
  • undertake and promote education and training in responsible research conduct,
  • comply with the relevant laws, regulations, disciplinary standards, ethics guidelines and institutional policies related to responsible research conduct,
  • ensure that appropriate approvals are obtained prior to the commencement of research and that conditions of any approvals are adhered to during the course of research,
  • ensure that the ethical principles of research merit and integrity, justice, beneficence and respect are applied to human research,
  • engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and respect their legal rights and local laws, customs and protocols,
  • ensure that the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement) are considered at all stages of research involving animals and minimise the impacts on animals used in research and in so doing support the welfare and wellbeing of these animals,
  • adopt methods appropriate to the aims of the research and ensure that conclusions are justified by the results,
  • retain clear, accurate, secure and complete records of all research, including research data and primary materials. Where possible and appropriate, allow access and reference to these by interested parties,
  • disseminate research findings responsibly, accurately and broadly. Where necessary, take action to correct the record in a timely manner,
  • disclose and manage actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest,
  • ensure that authors of research outputs are all those, and only those, who have made a significant intellectual or scholarly contribution to the research and its output, and that they agree to be listed as an author,
  • acknowledge those who have contributed to the research,
  • cite and acknowledge other relevant work appropriately and accurately,
  • participate in peer review in a way that is fair, rigorous and timely and maintains the confidentiality of the content, and
  • report suspected breaches of the Code in accordance with the Managing Complaints about the Conduct of Research Procedure.

4.0 Monitoring, Review and Assurance

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) is responsible for continuously monitoring the effectiveness of this policy and ensuring its ongoing relevance, veracity and consistency with underlying legislation and associated policies and procedures.

5.0 Recording and Reporting

All University records shall be retained and disposed of in accordance with the University's Information Management Policy.

Recording and reporting for research management and research integrity activities will be in accordance with their relevant policy and/or procedure.

6.0 Appendix

6.1 Definitions

3Rs - the three principles that underpin a systematic framework to achieve the goal of humane experimental techniques. The principles are: Replacement of animals with other methods; Reduction in the number of animals used; and Refinement of techniques used to minimise the adverse impact on animals.

Affiliate - academic title-holders, visiting academics, emeritus professors, adjunct and honorary title-holders, industry fellows, and conjoint appointments.

Breach - a failure to meet the principles and responsibilities of the Code. May refer to a single breach or multiple breaches.

Conflict of interest - conflict of interest exists in a situation where an independent observer might reasonably conclude that the professional actions of a person are or may be unduly influenced by other interests. This refers to a financial or non-financial interest which may be a perceived, potential or actual conflict of interest

Research - The concept of research is broad and includes the creation of new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way so as to generate new concepts, methodologies, inventions and understandings. This could include synthesis and analysis of previous research to the extent that it is new and creative.

Researchers - any University Staff member, Student or Affiliate who conducts, or assists with the conduct of, research at, or on behalf of, the University.

Staff - continuing, fixed-term, research (contingent funded) and casual staff members.

Student - a person enrolled as a student at the University or undertaking courses or programs at the University.

6.2 Overview of policy and internal and external links

An overview is available to download.

Custodians
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Bronwyn Harch
Custodians
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Bronwyn Harch