University Statement on Research Integrity

A message from the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research

The University of Bristol is globally recognised for the quality of its research, as evidenced by the Research Excellence Framework 2014 which ranked Bristol among the UK’s top research universities. In order to maintain and uphold the high standards of our research, we continue to undertake initiatives to ensure that integrity, ethics and excellence are at the core of our research activities and fully embedded in our research culture.

The University of Bristol is committed to meeting the Commitments of the Concordat to support Research Integrity, which was launched in July 2012 by Universities UK. The Commitments described in the Concordat are listed below with information in italics about those activities undertaken at the University in support of each of them:

  • maintaining the highest standards of rigour and integrity in all aspects of research

We are committed to protecting the rights, dignity, health, safety and privacy of research participants, the welfare of animals and the integrity of the environment. As a centre for properly conducted, high quality research, the University is also committed to protecting the health, safety, rights and academic freedom of researchers as well as the reputation of the University. A Task and Finish Group in Research Integrity was established in order to harmonise and strengthen the existing research integrity infrastructure across all research.

  • ensuring that research is conducted according to appropriate ethical, legal and professional frameworks, obligations and standards

The University’s quality assurance framework for research conduct includes: a core funded central Research Governance Team; ethics processes which are embedded within Faculties and Schools with strategic oversight from a Board of Trustees Committee chaired by a PVC; risk management processes to ensure that researchers are guided and supported in obtaining the necessary approvals; regularly reviewed policies and guidance; training and development opportunities for staff and students; an annual audit programme; study monitoring; and senior management support.

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  • supporting a research environment that is underpinned by a culture of integrity and based on good governance, best practice and support for the development of researchers

The Task and Finish Group included representatives from Research and Enterprise Development, Finance Services, Safety and Health Services, Faculty Management, Staff Development, Human Resources and the Bristol Doctoral College. It looked at  all areas of research integrity, harnessing current activity and recognising that future developments for students, researchers, supervisors and research managers should be harmonised by joint working.  

  • using transparent, robust and fair processes to deal with allegations of research misconduct 

Clear and effective policies in this area have been in place for a number of years; a formalised policy review process and implementation plan is underway to enhance understanding and awareness of these policies throughout the University. The Research Excellence Framework 2014 has ranked Bristol among the UK’s top research universities. During 2015 the University has investigated one allegation of potential research misconduct.

  • working together to strengthen the integrity of research and to reviewing progress regularly and openly

We have developed an integrated internal approach to support and nurture research integrity with input from multi-professional teams and senior management oversight that can be evidenced against the RCUK expectations. Continuous use of the UK Research Integrity Office mapping tool will ensure progress is charted.
Externally, active membership of the Russell Group Research Integrity Working Group and the Association for Research Ethics enables us to share best practice and benchmark activity within the HEI sector.

Policies, regulations and guidance provide the framework in which we deliver our commitment to research integrity. These include:

The above are integrated into our governance and administrative processes and training programmes to ensure they are an active and recognisable part of our research culture. We will continue to strengthen this culture and would welcome any questions, suggestions or concerns about research integrity at the University of Bristol, please contact me through our Research Governance Team.


Professor Nishan Canagarajah, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise

University of Bristol, December 2016.