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Research Climate

The Office of the Vice President for Research (VPR) is committed to supporting equity, diversity, and inclusivity (EDI) in research, on our campus, and in our community to promote a dynamic, innovative, and robust research and entrepreneurial workforce. The VPR office will be implementing One U EDI processes that ensure accountability in the research climate.

These processes, which are under development or being refined with community input, will be fully implemented by July 1, 2021. The processes include:

  1. Measure and track campus-wide and unit commitments to diversity in research
  2. Provide training in implicit bias for researchers
  3. Augment research education to:
    •  Address issues related to EDI for new faculty and staff and
    • Mandate refresher courses for anti-racism, anti-discrimination, bullying, harassment, microaggressions, bystander training and responsible conduct of research for the entire research community.

Goals of these programs

  1. Improve the research climate of our institution to support an EDI environment for researchers and participants at the UU
  2. Heighten the integrity of the research process
  3. Ensure that the research enterprise is accessible to current and prospective investigators and participants of all backgrounds

The three new internal mechanisms to support EDI-related activities in research are as follows:

Demographic Analytics that Assess EDI in the Research Community

Evidence demonstrates that diversity in the scientific community facilitates problem solving and enhances innovative discoveries. Accordingly, the VPR will assess EDI and its relationship to campus-wide and unit-level research establishing baseline plans to promote an EDI environment. Specifically, the VPR office will:

  • Track the relationship of gender, race/ethnicity, and class to research outcomes, as initially measured by awards and proposals*. Baseline data will serve as benchmarks for actionable goals improving diversity of research at the college-level, addressing pay equity, and mandating participation in research education EDI training. Data will be used to evaluate part of F&A distributions for qualifying units.
  • Support infrastructure to increase and measure the diversity of research participants for approved human subject protocols and clinical trials conducted at the UU. Translated study documents for recruitment and outreach training will be key for improving community outreach with diverse and representative participant populations and individuals. Baseline data will be obtained and reviewed every year to track progress.

*Data analysis requires receiving demographic data from OBIA and linking to the research portal.

Implicit Bias Training for UU Researchers

To promote an EDI environment in research, understanding systematic bias in the review of grant applications and toward applicants is necessary. However, most research investigators/staff have never engaged in implicit bias training. Accordingly, the VPR office will implement the following:

  • Incorporate Implicit Bias training into the Research Education (REd) training series. This training will include videos, groups discussions, case studies, and a certification of completion. All new investigators (e.g., faculty, post-doctoral fellows, pre-doctoral fellows, etc.) and research staff will participate in this REd training series where they will receive Implicit Bias training.  Refresher Implicit Bias training will be offered to seasoned investigative teams.
  • Provide Implicit Bias Training for all new internal seed grant awardees. New extramurally funded awardees will be encouraged to participate in Implicit Bias Training.
  • Provide Implicit Bias Training for internal seed grant reviewers, and recommend this training for reviewers who participate in NIH, NSF, and other federal review committees.
Improve the Integrity of the Research Climate

One-time attendance in educational offerings about EDI and other issues related to EDI (i.e., responsible conduct of research (RCR), bullying, harassment, research misconduct, discrimination, etc.) is not sufficient to improve our institutional research climate.  Continuous engagement with education/training to promote an EDI environment and research integrity needs to be part of our day-to-day research operations.  The VPR office is:

  • Partnering with the Graduate School and RCR training will become a required component of graduate education. 4 hours of RCR training is now part of the official transcript for graduation.
  • Collaborating with the Department of Philosophy and CCTS to (a) teach research ethics for graduate students and faculty and (b) offer a new Research Ethics Consultation service through the Office of Research Integrity & Compliance. (These courses will be another option to existing research ethic courses.) The research ethics consults are lead by a tenured professor from the Department of Philosophy who was hired on July 1, 2020.
  • Providing training through REd on RCR, bullying, sexual harassment, research misconduct, discrimination, racism, and other emerging areas as new faculty and staff are who engage in research are on-boarded. Refresher courses will also be offered and encouraged for all existing faculty and staff with active research programs.
  • Working with the university community to develop institution-wide policies in the research context to address authorship, professional misconduct (i.e., harassment, discrimination, bullying), and research misconduct.
  • Require all internal grant proposals to include an EDI section plan for their proposal. This could include statements that their personnel have completed required EDI trainings above and other efforts/measure they will take that would ensure that the project/proposal is consistent with the for institutions EDI vision.