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Research governance and integrity

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University of Sunderland in London student writing notes

Ensuring high standards of research governance and integrity

Information and advice on the policies and procedures for good research practice and for investigating and reporting misconduct in research.


Research governance makes sure that all research, carried out by both staff and students, is done to the highest standards.

All members of the University of Sunderland research community are expected to follow the highest professional standards of research integrity.

Research ethics

All of our research must be done in accordance with:

The University's Research Ethics principles
The University's Professional Codes of Practice
The law

Find out about our Research Ethics principles and the role of the Research Ethics Committee.

Research Integrity Concordat

As a university, we are committed to making sure that our researchers know and understand what is expected of them.

At the University of Sunderland in London, we have a formal agreement or 'concordat' about standards and integrity in UK research.

The concordat includes a set of commitments so government, the public and the international community know that our research is done under the highest standards of rigour and integrity.


Research integrity is about honesty and transparency in how you think about, carry out and report on your research.

Our researchers want to be fair and accurate in how they interact with their peers, open about any (possible) conflicts of interest in their research and make sure their people taking part in their research are protected, their dignity maintained and their rights protected at all times.

Code of practice

All of our research is done under the formal agreement of the concordat in regards to standards and integrity.

Career Development of Researchers Concordat

The University is fully committed to supporting and developing our research staff and adheres to the seven key principles of the Concordat to support the career development of researchers:

  • Recognition of the importance of recruiting, selecting and retaining researchers with the highest potential to achieve excellence in research
  • Researchers are recognised and valued by their employing organisation as an essential part of their organisation's human resources and a key component of their overall strategy to develop and deliver world-class research
  • Researchers are equipped and supported to be adaptable and flexible in an increasingly diverse, mobile, global research environment
  • The importance of researchers' personal and career development, and lifelong learning, is clearly recognised and promoted at all stages of their career
  • Individual researchers share the responsibility for and need to pro-actively engage in their own personal and career development and lifelong learning
  • Diversity and equality must be promoted in all aspects of the recruitment and career management of researchers
  • The sector and all stakeholders will undertake a regular and collective review of their progress in strengthening the attractiveness and sustainability of research careers in the UK

Read the full concordat.

To reinforce our commitment to the Concordat, and to make sure we are following and applying its principles, we have done a full review of our recruitment, support and development processes. This has included looking for the areas we can improve on. When possible improvements were found, they have been included in our Action Plan. Our actions are:

  • Pilot “Principal Investigator Development Programme”
  • Ensure that PIs and line managers of researchers are aware of their responsibilities and that all researchers are appraised
  • Pilot ‘Broadening Horizons’ course for researchers
  • Update website to provide support resources for PIs and researchers
  • Apply for renewal of Athena Swan Bronze Award
  • Pilot “How to be an Effective Researcher” course
  • Review careers guidance provision for researchers
  • Review Induction programme for researchers
  • Review mentoring arrangements for researchers
  • Introduce Personal Development Planning support for Researchers
  • Review researcher representation on university committees, and implement any changes
  • Set up Research Concordat Steering Group to monitor and review our Action Plan

View the full original Gap Analysis and Action Plan and HR Excellence Four Year Progress Report 2017.

Two-year review process (2015)

The review group agreed the scope of the internal review, structure of the report and process for updating the action plan. The report will be sent to and considered by the University's Research and Innovation Committee who will continue to monitor progress throughout the action plan:

Two year Report - HR Excellence in Research Award


HR Excellence in Research Action Plan 2015-2017

Four-year review process (2017)

A Research Concordat Steering Group was created in 2013 to guide, monitor, and review the implementation of the Action Plan. The group meets yearly to examine and update the action plan and reports to the Research and Innovation Group, a sub-group of the Academic Board. The evaluation of how the plan has been put into place including a revised action plan is detailed below:

HR Excellence Four Year Progress Report 2017

HR Excellence in Research Action Plan 2017-2019

Six-year review process (2019)

Since 2018, the University Staff Development Group has been responsible for delivering the HR Excellence Action Plan. Reporting to the Research and Innovation Strategy Project Group and Operations Board, the University Staff Development Group is responsible for the University Staff Development Framework and includes members of the research community.

The Research and Innovation Strategy group, which is chaired by members of the University Executive, review and monitor the delivery of the plan.

The year six review document and updated action plan is available below: