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    Brown University
    Ethics Initiative at Brown University

    In conjunction with its existing programs, which include an RCR seminar for graduate students in the life sciences and engineering, departmental RCR courses, and the Academy in Context, a university-wide dinner-seminar series devoted to ethical issues, Brown will seek to:


    • Implement a revised RCR training seminar for all graduate students in Engineering, and develop a new plan for students in Physics and Chemistry
    • Expand interdisciplinary discussion of ethics through the Academy in Context series
    • Create a larger presence for ethics and RCR on the university’s Web site
    • Develop tools to assess and refine these programs.


    Brown will develop a two-tiered plan aimed at departmental training courses and interdisciplinary programming in order to increase awareness of ethical issues, train students in responsible research practices, and spark interdisciplinary collaboration on research in ethics. The training courses will feature:


    • Data acquisition, storage, and privact
    • The peer review process and its purpose
    • Practical, legal, and ethical considerations in human- and animal-subjects research
    • Publication practices and responsible authorship
    • Responsibilities of mentors and pre- and postdoctoral trainees
    • Recognizing and navigating conflicts of interest
    • Research misconduct


    Faculty from all disciplines will oversee these efforts to encourage small-group discussions regarding ethical conduct. Programming across fields will include group events and small workshops, as part of the Academy in Context series, where speakers will be invited to discuss a wide variety of topics pertaining to ethical issues.


    Finally, funding will help promote a Web site containing course listings in any discipline with an ethics component and links providing online resources on ethics, training information, registration for Ethics Initiative events, and evaluation surveys for ethics programming. Several graduate students were involved in monitoring campus program-related activities and create an evaluation process to refine and modify the program according to weaknesses identified in the surveys distributed after training courses. In addition, an adjunct professor was hired to conduct RCR training with the support of the university.


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