Training in the Responsible Conduct of Science

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has mandated that all graduate students receiving financial support from an NIH training grant be given instruction in the responsible conduct in science. The Program faculty believes that training in scientific ethics is important, regardless of source of support, and therefore requires it of all neuroscience students.

 For students entering the program starting fall 2016 and later:

  • In the first year, students will complete the semester-long professional development and ethics course that will cover all nine NIH Responsible Conduct of Research topics led by NTP faculty.
  • In years 2-3, students will complete two ethics seminars each year.
  • In years 4+, students must complete one ethics seminar each year.

For students who entered the program prior to fall 2016:

Training in scientific ethics is included each year as part of the Neuroscience Seminar by a scientific ethics subgroup. Participation in the scientific ethics subgroup, including planning and presentation of the ethics program, is required of all students supported on the training grant and of all first- and third-year students, regardless of their sources of support. For presentation in the Seminar, the scientific ethics subgroup selects the format and topic(s) to be covered in keeping with the Program's policy on training in scientific ethics: "The ethics subgroup should not present cases in the Seminar involving individuals or groups of individuals on the UW-Madison campus. However, discussion within the subgroup should not be limited." In 2007, the Program expanded requirements to include attendance at two graduate school seminars per year for each of the first three years of training in the Program. In 2010, the graduate school office of professional development and the office of research policy partnered to create a committee called Integrated Research Ethics and Scholarship (IRES). This committee coordinates campus-wide research ethics symposia or guest lectures on ethical conduct in science. Each semester, the Program encourages students to attend IRES symposia or lectures to complete a portion of their ethics requirements. The Program provides students with a list of approved seminars each semester.

One unexcused absence per year will be allowed for students required to participate in the scientific ethics subgroup planning sessions. Failure of any students supported by the training grant, or first- or third-year students, to participate in the scientific ethics subgroup will result in the assignment of a directed essay. The essay will consist of a case study of a real issue or situation in scientific ethics, as described in the appropriate literature, and will be chosen by the student. The completed essay will be distributed to all members of the Ethics Committee, including the student members, for review.

Attendance at the Program-wide scientific ethics presentation is required of all students in the Program each year. Students failing to attend the ethics presentation also must complete a directed essay as described above