Strengthening Research Integrity and Quality
The Network for Education and Research Quality (NERQ) will continue its mission to foster research integrity, research ethics, and open science after its successful first hybrid conference in Brussels, hosted by the European Commission. More than 150 participants registered for the conference to gain insights into 11 trending topics related to RI, RE and OS
provided by 11 Special Interest Groups.
Two-panel sessions highlighted the connections between NERQ and other initiatives such as
WCRI, FORRT, EUREC, EOSC-A, ENAI etc., dispersed throughout the day. Maria Leptin,
President of the European Research Council (ERC), delivered a keynote speech emphasizing
the importance of research integrity to achieve excellence in Europe and mapped the different
ways the ERC pursues this goal.
“Society and research need to be able to trust research results,” says Maria Leptin in a video
about research integrity. “Important for research in all disciplines is that correct and rigorous
methods, as well as correct behaviour, lead to reliable research results.”
From Open Science to the Special Interest Group on Research Methodology, these groups
showed that they are the heart of NERQ. One discussion, for example, revolved around
differences between mentors and supervisors, about what an irresponsible supervisor would
do, what institutions can do to prevent irresponsible supervision, and about how the
perspective of the PhD student who wishes to make a genuine contribution should not be left
out of the conversation.
The conference provided an opportunity to exchange good practices: experiences, formats,
and new developments. It also stimulated quality training and trainers in the field and
encouraged collaborations on research-based innovations in education. At the event’s
conclusion, the experts published a position paper, “Seven challenges for research integrity
education: current status and recommendations” (in preprint), outlining the challenges and
NERQ fosters open science and responsible behaviour among researchers by providing
resources such as training materials, best practices for research integrity, codes of conduct for
universities, and guidelines for handling scientific misconduct cases. Through these efforts,
NERQ aims to ensure that researchers learn and accept and be held accountable for their
actions while still pursuing their work excellently. The network will reconvene online on
September 20th to further discuss strengthening research integrity and quality.