PLAN FOR THE INSTRUCTION IN THE RESPONSIBLE CONDUCT OF RESEARCH (RCR)
Based on feedback from the prior proposal submission and key stakeholders on the training grant, we have now developed a more integrated training plan based on activities with other training grants on campus. A key tenant to this training is a two-year rotating series of workshops based on the “NIH guidance on required RCR training.” Our trainers will play leading roles in these trainings in collaboration with the Medical Scientists Training Program (MSTP), as well as six additional T32 training grants and the microbiology immunology and cancer biology (MICaB) program. Additional didactic training will be provided by a mandatory ethics course taken by all trainees in either the Chemistry or the Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics (BMBB) departments. Specific lab training is also being provided by the individual trainers within their research groups and through an online training module for all new trainees and trainers. These training activities are captured in our annual report for all training grant participants and are elaborated below.
The MSTP T32 (PI Yoji Shimizu) has been collaborating with UMN T32 training grants to offer summer Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) workshops that meet the NIH requirements for RCR training. They have now updated these workshops to include 8 RCR workshops (1.5 hours each), with 4 workshops being offered every summer in May, June, July, and August. In addition to the MSTP, the other participating T32s are Cancer Biology (Carol Lange, PI), Immunology (Kris Hogquist, PI), Virology (Lou Mansky, PI), Aging (Dawn Lowe, PI), Comparative Pathology (Cathy Carlson, PI), and Cardiovascular Engineering (Victor Barocas, PI), the MiCAB program (Ameeta Kelekar, DGS) and our training grant. The MSTP has identified a lead faculty facilitator for each of the 8 sessions. The CBITG T32 PIs will recruit four T32 faculty members on a rotating basis to participate as a faculty discussant each year starting in the summer 2023. Co-PI Prof. Pomerantz served as the CBITG discussant this May. Each session fosters discussion, active learning, engagement, and interaction among the participants with extensive use of case studies. Feedback from workshop participation from trainees will be addressed during the annual review meeting.
Administrative assistance is being provided by the MSTP and MICaB program for scheduling the workshops, room reservations and taking attendance. However, additional T32 administrators will be asked for assistance when needed (See Shimizu letter of support). We will ensure that all trainers will take part in serving as a discussant on a rotating basis. Changing our RCR training from CBITG-only activities to this centralized model both increases the training that our trainees receive and decreases the overlap of effort that occurs between T32 grants on our campus.
Workshops (12 hours in years 1 and 2 on the training grant):
Centralized Training for all Trainees and Trainers (3 hours 1x initial training)
Centralized RCR training for all new trainees and trainers will now be required through an online 3-hour course through UMN’s Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) to augment the workshop training.
Training topics cover 5 key areas include 1) general principles, professional and fiscal responsibilities, dealing with misconduct, and mentoring. 2) research with human participants, conflicts of interest, and workplace safety, 3) data collection, sharing, and interpretation, 4) plagiarism, authorship, and peer review, 5) responsibility to the public and safety. This training is required by the Office of Vice President of Research for all new investigators receiving sponsored research projects, and records of compliance are tracked and can be accessed electronically through a UMN-specific accessible website.
Didactic Training in Ethics. (1 credit, Spring semester, 1st year of graduate school)
All trainees are required to take a course on Ethics and Responsible Conduct of Research.
Chemistry and Medicinal Chemistry students:
In the Spring semester of their first year, trainees in Medicinal Chemistry and Chemistry enroll in CHEM 8066, which is a 1 credit course: “Professional Conduct of Chemical Research” Content is delivered through student presentations, discussion of case studies, and guest speakers on topics of RCR and ethics. Required readings have included “On Being a Scientist: A Guide to Responsible Conduct in Research,” 3rd ed. and Art of Scientific Investigation”, and “Ethics in Science: Ethical Misconduct in Scientific Research” Topics covered include: copyright and publication ethics, publication responsibilities, communication of results, peer review, adviser/advisee relationships and conflicts, and scientific misconduct. Prof. Pomerantz recently led two lectures for this course in 2021.
In the Spring semester of their first year, Biochemistry Students are required to take the 1 credit course BioC 8401, “Ethics, Public Policy and Careers in Molecular & Cellular Biology”. Content is delivered through a combination of case studies, small group discussions, and lectures covering the ethics of scientific investigations including the relationship between science, culture, and public policies. Required readings have included “On Being a Scientist: A Guide to Responsible Conduct in Research,” 3rd ed. and Art of Scientific Investigation”, and “Ethics in Science: Ethical Misconduct in Scientific Research.” Topics include issues related to authorship and data handling, intellectual property and mentorship, plagiarism, and misconduct. In addition, the course analyzes the relationship between science and public policies.
Regular Chemical Biology Colloquium Seminar Series. (1-2 per semester)
For sustained training, we will continue to provide yearly RCR and rigor and reproducibility-specific seminars through our chemical biology colloquium seminar series. Recent seminars led by our trainers have included rigor and reproducibility in data analysis, data management, and experimental design, and journal specific guidelines for publishing. We will continue to present 1-2 seminar topics per semester.
Laboratory Safety Training
UMN has developed a strong culture of laboratory safety over the last 11 years. This includes formation of a joint safety team, which is a researcher-led organization focused on improving the culture of safety in chemical laboratories at the University of Minnesota. This initiative has gained national recognition and has been developed in partnership with industrial leaders. Every laboratory in the departments of chemistry, medicinal chemistry, and biochemistry have laboratory safety officers, and laboratories are regularly inspected for maintaining safe operating procedures for conducting research. In addition, to augment the safety culture, safety moments are regularly presented before seminars in the departments of chemistry and medicinal chemistry departments. Many of our trainers also include them in regular group meeting presentations. In addition to short rigor and reproducibility presentations at CBIG presentations, safety moments will also be interspersed as has been done previously for maintaining a culture of safety for all of our trainers and trainees.
Summary of Training Both Formalized and within Individualized Trainer Labs:
The RCR training covers multiple stages of the trainees’ development starting at their first year of graduate research and is implemented in several formats. Chemical biology training is diverse, and as such we have targeted a broad set of training opportunities to expose trainees to the full enterprise of biomedical research that is aligned and synergizes with their research. Formal classroom instruction is provided the first year for all graduate researchers during the academic semester with a significant focus on ethics. An online three-hour refresher module in RCR training is provided to new trainees on the grant, which would occur in years two or three of their graduate education for a new trainee. Six additional hours per year of interactive training at RCR workshops will be provided each summer for current trainees during their two years on the training grant. Throughout the trainees’ time in our program we will also continue to provide yearly RCR and rigor and reproducibility-specific seminars through our chemical biology colloquium seminar series and CBIG talks. Finally, individualized training in RCR will continue within trainer research groups providing opportunity to reiterate and augment key elements of RCR training specific to their research and will be captured in our annual trainer surveys. Together this provides an integrated set of RCR training through multiple formats and will last the duration of the trainees’ time in our program.