Role of the Principal Investigator

Responsible Conduct of Research

As part of its commitment to the creation and dissemination of knowledge, the University of Alberta will foster an environment of open inquiry and academic freedom in which individuals can pursue scholarly activities. To this end, the University will:

  • Ensure and promote the highest standards of scholarly practice and ethical conduct.
  • Ensure that human research participants are treated safely and with respect.
  • Ensure that teaching and research activities involving animals are performed with full respect for animal welfare.
  • Ensure that principles of stewardship are applied to research records, protecting the integrity of the assets.
  • Support and develop research and scholarship through prudent resource management and by securing external funding.

All research must be compatible with established University policy and procedure with respect to scholarship and integrity, meet all obligations with respect to trainees and, in the case of funded research, ensure grant administration in accordance with negotiated, contractual terms and University policies (e.g. confidentiality, handling of intellectual property, publication rights, graduate student rights, conflict of interest).

Noncompliance and Misconduct

Excellence in research and scholarship depends on the creativity, hard work and dedication of its practitioners. It also depends on integrity. Dishonesty and fabrication fundamentally undermine the worth and usefulness of research and other scholarly work.

Even when untainted by fraud, scholarly work must meet other standards of ethics and integrity. Discoveries obtained through deceit, that disregard proper attribution of source material or the contributions of others, or that involve the violation or disregard of others' rights, are antithetical to basic professional and scholarly values. Breaches of integrity also offend society. Society places a trust in scholars and researchers not only to pursue knowledge, but to do so in a manner that respects and promotes fundamental values of honesty, fairness, beneficence and freedom from exploitation.

Failure to obtain and maintain ethics approval is noncompliance, which will result in an allegation of misconduct under the Research and Scholarship Integrity Policy, and the immediate suspension of access to funds.

Policy Resources

University research policies and procedures are available on the U of A Policies and Procedures On-Line (UAPPOL) website. PIs are responsible for familiarizing themselves with relevant policies and guidelines and adhering to them in the implementation of their research programs.

The following are some of the policies relevant to research.

See also:

Panel on Responsible Conduct of Research (Government of Canada)