Skip to main content
Search form
  • 00:00


  • 00:17

    MAURA HINEY: My name is Maura Hiney.I work for the Health Research Board in Ireland,which is a funding agency.I'm a Microbiologist by training,but I ran a university research office for seven yearswhere I put in place policies, and processes,and good practice, and research ethics for the researchcommunity there.I also worked as a Policy Analyst with the HRB

  • 00:38

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: before becoming involved in the funding side of things.So inevitably, I was looking at strengthening good practicesin research that we fund, but alsoin the way that we assess and handle that funding.Over the past 10 years, I have promoted research integrityinternally by making research integrity training, open access

  • 00:60

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: publication, development of DMPs and so on, mandatoryand embedding good research practice in grant agreements.In Ireland, I've been involved in establishing a NationalResearch Integrity Forum, contributingto national funding of an online platform for training,chairing groups, to revise the national policy in linewith the European Code of Conduct,

  • 01:21

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: and developing a framework for ensuring research integrityin collaboration agreements.As a Research Funder, I've been involved in various researchintegrity initiatives with the European Science Foundationand Science Europe for a number of years.And I chaired the Science Europe workinggroup on research integrity.As a follow on for that, I chaired the drafting groupof the 2017 European Code of Conduct

  • 01:44

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: for Research Integrity by the All European Academies,or ALLEA.This has now become part of the grant agreementfor all EU Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe projects.Because of my involvement in research integrity policydevelopment, I've also gotten invitedonto the advisory boards of a number of research integrity

  • 02:05

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: focused Horizon 2020 Science with and for Society,or SwafS, projects over the years.In putting compliance with the European Code of Conductinto its grant agreement, the EU saw that it alsoneeded to help research institutions to implementthe requirements of the code.So through the EU SwafS project, Standard Operating Procedures

  • 02:29

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: for Research Integrity, or SOPs4RI,the EU wanted the project team to develop Research IntegrityPromotion Plans, or RIPPs, we'll come back to those again later,and useful tools for both researchperforming and research funding organizations thatcan help them to improve both their own practices,and in the case of research funders,

  • 02:50

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: those of the institutions and researchers that they fund.The EU saw this as a really good wayto try and help research institutions.The question that SOPs4RI asks is,"What are the most pressing issues for researchinstitutions and funding agencies in research integrity,and how can these be best captured in a RIPP

  • 03:12

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: or addressed in a toolkit?"The partners in SOPs4RI were primarilyuniversity researchers or research managers,and they needed somebody from a research funding agencybackground who understood the nuts and bolts of howa research agency works, and what its policy implementationchallenges might be.And so, having all of this RI policy experience

  • 03:34

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: that I'd built up, meant that I'd something really importantto contribute to the development of the research funderRIPP and toolkit.So in the SOPs4RI project, my main roleis to contribute my understanding of the needsand challenges for funding agenciesin implementing a RIPP both internally and externally.

  • 03:56

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: And to make sure that the toolkitwill be useful from a research funding agency perspective.[How do you decide what should be included in a RIPP?]The key topics that funding agencies,research institutions, individual researchersmight focus on to have some real influence on changing

  • 04:18

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: the culture of research integrity,were explored in a very rigorous way in this projectthrough systematic literature reviews, Delphi studies,expert interviews, focus groups, and co-creation workshops.These involved many research institutions,and individual researchers, and some funding agenciesacross Europe.

  • 04:38

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: The team also wanted to find some best practiceexamples that could go into the toolkitto inspire research institutions and funding agenciesand create a sense of shared purpose.So much of my work in this project,has been to explore whether the guidelines and the toolkitwould make sense to research funders

  • 04:59

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: in the context of their governance responsibilities.And to ensure that the language used in the RIPPand publications was framed in a way that was familiar to them.We didn't need to seek ethics approval for this workbecause we weren't doing researchon humans or their tissues.However, we were careful to seek the consent of all participants

  • 05:21

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: in the focus groups, workshop, surveys,and so on to use their input into the research.[How was data collected and analysed to create RIPPs?]So in terms of data collection, datawas collected in a very iterative and logical waythroughout the project.The initial literature reviews provided

  • 05:43

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: an evidence base for the policy and process topicsthat could subsequently be put to researchers, institutions,funders to consider as part of a RIPP.Once the topics have been identified,the Delphi survey round the expert interviewswith the different groups were usedto rank the topics in terms of whether theymight be able to influence or act on them.

  • 06:04

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: The number importance of the topicswas further examined through the expert interviewsand co-creation workshops.The team also collected good practice examplesfrom universities across Europe and searched funding agencywebsites to see what policies and processes they had in placethat could be mapped to the topics.

  • 06:26

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: So the literature reviews done by the teamflushed out a long list of potential topics of importancefor research integrity.But to be of any use to a toolkit,the team needed a better understandingof the relative importance of these topicsfor the different groups.The two rounds of the Delphi survey,where participants were asked to rank

  • 06:46

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: the importance of these topics for effecting real improvement,really helped to refine that list and the expert interviewsfurther whittled down the list of topics that shouldbe addressed at a minimum.This ranking also was tested in focus groups,and the co-creation workshops with researchers, researchmanagers, and funders to ensure that they

  • 07:07

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: agreed with that ranked list.And that process did actually resultin some changes where some topics were demotedand some were promoted, mainly because some of themwere a little bit on the aspirational side.For researchers and research institutionsa final list of nine topics emergedas being of the most importance, and thatcovered supports, organizational issues, and communication.

  • 07:31

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: And these were published in a Nature commentary in 2020,a link to which there will be at the bottom of thispresentation, called 'Research Integrity:nine ways to move from talk to walk'.And that also provided some good examples to inspire people.For the funding agencies, a final list of six key topicsemerged as being the most relevant.

  • 07:53

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: Some of these were things that the fundersneeded to examine in their own funding processes and policies.Others were things that they coulddo to influence the behavior of the research institutionsand the researchers.This work is now being prepared for publicationin a science commentary in 2021 to compliment that Naturecommentary.

  • 08:14

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: I've had a lot of input into this documentas it's developed, in particular tryingto craft the language in a way that doesn't sound toopreachy for research funders and to sense checkthe recommendations, so that they could actuallybe implemented within the broader activities of a fundingagency.[What topics should the RIPPs include?]

  • 08:40

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: So what were those six topics?Well, the ones that came out on topwere four internal ones and two external ones.The internal ones were, firstly, howdo they assess funding applications?How they guard against conflicts of interest in doing this.How they monitor awards.And how they deal with internal breaches of research integrity.

  • 09:01

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: The two external ones were, how theycan be clear about their expectations of what researchintegrity policies and processes need to be in place in researchinstitutions, for example, through developments of a RIPPand how those institutions can ensure compliancewith that RIPP.So just coming back to the RIPP for a second,the expectations of a RIPP for a research institution

  • 09:26

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: is that it should facilitate and stimulate a healthy researchenvironment.So that means proper monitoring and supervision, researchethics structures, research ethic training, high qualitydissemination practices, research collaboration,effective data management, and open and fair proceduresto deal with breaches of research integrity.

  • 09:48

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: By open, I mean, accessible to researchers and transparent.But obviously, you have to preserve the confidentialityof a process, where that's needed,to protect whistle blowers and alsothe rights of accused people.An interesting finding, for me, wasthat in trying to source relevant funding agencydocumentation during the literature review,

  • 10:09

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: the team often struggled to find existing policies and processon funding agency websites.However, I know that most funding agencieshave very robust policies and processesin place for the assessment and the monitoring of the awardsthat they make.But they often don't make those publicly available.So it was really challenging to get a true sense of what

  • 10:30

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: was out there.This, combined with the input from the researchersin the project into what they thought funding agencies shoulddo, as opposed to what they could do,made me realize that there is quite a lack of understandingabout how funding agencies work, mainlybecause a lot of our activities happen behind closed doors.

  • 10:54

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: [What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?]I think the biggest challenge for me in this projectwas being the only funding agency partner,made it sometimes a little bit difficult to ensurethat the voice of the funding agencywas heard in discussions and publications.

  • 11:17

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: Since producing a RIPP and a toolkit thatdoesn't align with how the funding agencies would workin practice would be very unlikely to be implementedby the funders, and it would be very wasteful.I think the funding agencies have a really important roleto play in the research integrity ecosystem.And they have the power to bring about transformationby driving good practice in the research that they fund,

  • 11:39

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: and also in the expectations that theyset for research institutions who host that funding.However, funding agencies need to thinkabout this in the context of their strategic mission,and the policy and evidence needs of their paymasters.So in my example, it's the Department of Healthwho actually provide our funding, because of that,

  • 12:02

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: research funders often approach their activitiesfrom the perspective of the responsibilitiesto protect public investment in research and derive valuefor money from that investment.So their perspective is a little bitdifferent to a research institution whomay be thinking about world rankings and their reputation,or even a researcher who may be thinking

  • 12:23

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: about knowledge production or even career progression.So being able to champion the role and perspectiveof research funders in the SOPs4RI projectwas a terrific opportunity to make those more visible,those perspectives more visible, to my partners.The process of coming up with the six key areas in which

  • 12:45

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: funding agencies could improve their own process,and inform their expectations of the researchinstitutions and the researchers that they fundwas very rigorous.And I certainly learned a lot from itthat I can take back to my own agency.[Conclusion]

  • 13:07

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: The experience really emphasized for methat as research funders, we needto be much more transparent about our processes.It isn't that research funders are trying to hide things.It's just that we don't necessarilythink about the research institution, or the researcherperspective, or that they would even beinterested in how we do things.

  • 13:28

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: So where they have introduced something innovative,research funders should really consider publishing it,so that others can see what they do and be inspired by that.As a follow on project, I think itwould be great to have a look at how research fundingagencies could improve themselves and influencethe system, but from their own perspective.

  • 13:50

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: But based on the experience I've had,it would also be important to get the input of researchersand research institutions who would ultimately haveto work with those processes.And perhaps bringing a public and patient involvement conceptinto policy and process development by funding agencieswould really help here.Although of course, we'd need to figure out

  • 14:11

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: how to do this in a way that preserves our responsibilitiesto good governance, doesn't introduce bias or favoritism,and protects the interests of the public and our paymasters.The SOPs4RI project really showed methat this kind of policy initiativehas to be a joint effort by everyone.

  • 14:31

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: And everybody's voice needs to beheard if we are to be successful in changingthe culture of research integrity in the system.So I hope that this short talk has given youa little bit of insight into how a funding agency mightlook at things.And I really hope that you found it useful.Thank you.

  • 15:02

    MAURA HINEY [continued]: [MUSIC PLAYING]

Video Info

Series Name: SOPs4RI

Publisher: SAGE Publications, Ltd.

Publication Year: 2022

Video Type:Tutorial

Methods: Research ethics, Integrity, Collaborative research, Research funding, Ethical codes, Consent, Data collection, Researcher skills

Keywords: assessment; conflicts of interest; data analysis; data collection; delphi surveys; focus groups; innovation; integrity; literature reviews; research design; research ethics; research funding; transparency ... Show More

Segment Info

Segment Num.: 1

Persons Discussed:

Events Discussed:



Maura Hiney, PhD, Head of the International Cooperation and Health Research Board in Ireland, discusses research integrity from the perspective of a research funding agency, including designing a Research Integrity Promotion Plan (RIPP), data collection and analysis, and what topics a RIPP should include.

Video Info

Publication Info

SAGE Publications, Ltd.
Publication Year:
SAGE Research Methods Video: Research Ethics and Integrity
Publication Place:
United Kingdom
SAGE Original Production Type:
SAGE Tutorials
Copyright Statement:
©SAGE Publications Ltd., 2022


Maura Hiney

Segment Info


Segment Num: 1


Segment Start Time:

Segment End Time:


Things Discussed

Organizations Discussed:

Events Discussed:

Places Discussed:

Persons Discussed:


Methods Map

Research ethics

The field of moral philosophy dealing with the standards by which behaviour should be regulated within research.
Research ethics
Research Integrity: The Perspective of a Research Funding Agency

Maura Hiney, PhD, Head of the International Cooperation and Health Research Board in Ireland, discusses research integrity from the perspective of a research funding agency, including designing a Research Integrity Promotion Plan (RIPP), data collection and analysis, and what topics a RIPP should include.

Copy and paste the following HTML into your website