We believe research with integrity is the only way to do research, and this belief is embedded in our MRC PPU values.
We lead and innovate, with integrity and rigour.
We’re ambitious - we’re not afraid to do things first and try new approaches. We always do so with objectivity, honesty and transparency.
Our definition of research integrity is closely aligned with the Concordat to Support Research Integrity and guidelines from the UK Committee on Research Integrity.
Our research has integrity because we are rigorous, because we care for and respect each other, because we are open and transparent, and because each one of us is accountable for upholding these principles.
For us, research with integrity and a healthy research culture are two sides of the same coin. We are committed to both through a range of activities and we welcome feedback from our staff and students on ways in which we can improve.
This way of doing science has enabled us to become one of the world’s centres of research excellence, with an unusually collaborative environment that operates as a focal point between leading life scientists, pharmaceutical companies and clinicians.
Our integrity ensures that the public and external partners have confidence in all we do.
We care deeply about the rigour with which our research is done.
We fully support The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), which recognises the need to improve the ways in which researchers and research outputs are evaluated. In fact, the MRC-PPU supported these principles long before DORA came into formal existence. We ensure that our scientists are driven to work as rigorously as possible, without fear of being judged according to non-scientific criteria such as a journal impact factor.
We have several activities that embed rigour in all our workflows, including:
- Our mass spectrometry data analysis group.
- Additional computational biology support through the School of Life Science (SLS) Data Analysis Group.
- Electronic laboratory notebooks to enable reproducibility and continuity in our workflows.
- Through our extensive collaborations with industry, we benefit from support services with bespoke expertise in a range of technologies and workflows, all executed according to industry standards.
- Our support staff teach students and postdocs specific techniques.
- Additional training is available to PhD students and postdocs through conventional lab meetings and internal Unit presentations, as well as through Organisational and Professional Development, University of Dundee.
Research with integrity only happens when everyone does their bit to uphold the underlying values.
As a Unit, we seek to identify and address any issues as soon as they arise.
We have many activities that embed accountability in all that we do, including:
- All staff and students complete research integrity training.
- All Group Leaders attend a Management Training course.
- Research Integrity Group
- Unit-wide discussions every 2-3 months encourage the sharing of knowledge, challenges and concerns regarding our research. Sessions are led by a postdoctoral researcher, who uses the opportunity to help raise anonymous contributions, facilitating a “safe space” style meeting. Where challenges are highlighted, the discussions are used to share ideas for how improvements can be made.
- We have zero tolerance for bullying and harassment, with dedicated Harassment Advisers in the University of Dundee.
- Confidential reporting of breaches are very rare, thankfully, but taken seriously.
- Other channels to be heard: local PhD committee, research staff association etc?
“Open Science is key for reproducibility, for rapid sharing of results and knowledge advance. Ultimately, it benefits the public who fund our research. Some of the things we do include making reproducible protocols openly available on www.protocols.io , sharing all of our reagents with the rest of the research community via our dedicated reagents website, discussing all our ongoing data and ideas openly and publishing all of our findings as preprints.
The MRC-PPU is widely known for its focus on the quality of the research, not where it is published, an aspect that is particularly appreciated by our early career researchers and which contributes to a positive and collaborative research culture. We encourage frank and open discussions about our research to ensure that considerations of research integrity and sound experimental design are part of everyone’s work.”
Professor Dario Alessi, MRC PPU Director