The role of Research Practice Advisors

How will a Research Practice Advisor help?

After listening carefully to your description of the situation, a RPA will give you advice about whether:

  • the conduct is acceptable
  • the situation needs to be improved
  • this is research misconduct
  • your situation is covered by other University policies such as harassment

For each category a RPA can advise you about what actions are appropriate and who to contact. The second category, where conduct is not responsible research conduct, the RPA will engage to improve the situation informally.

RPAs provide advice and facilitate problem solving

Their aim is for all parties to be clearer about good research conduct and ways they can negotiate with others in the present situation to achieve it.

RPAs are knowledgeable about the various University policies that might apply in the conduct of research

They advise individuals on those policies and procedures, and can make recommendations relating to research conduct and raising a concern or a complaint. A list of policies is included on the Other relevant policies and services page.

A RPA will not be involved in a matter if there is a potential or real conflict of interest

A RPA can provide advice to researchers outside their own College, and staff and students may contact an RPA outside of their College.

RPAs are not involved in an investigation of a complaint of misconduct

RPAs deal with questionable research conduct and breaches of responsible research conduct, but not research misconduct (see Terms and Definitions or the Code for the differences). It is not the role of an RPA to arbitrate or attempt to resolve any research misconduct, but to refer the matter on.

RPAs must report allegations of research misconduct

After establishing that a matter meets the criteria of misconduct (wilful or persistent deviation from principles), RPAs will encourage the Complainant to make the allegation in writing to the AVC RAE and will also confidentially report it to the AVC RAE for their own protection.