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The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) (the Agencies) have put in place a Tri-Council Policy Statement: Integrity in Research and Scholarship and a policy framework on research integrity that institutions, applicants and award holders must adhere to. As part of these policy tools, a formal process is in place for institutions to investigate possible breaches of scientific integrity and to report findings to NSERC (see below). The Corporate Secretariat manages this process, which is formally under the stewardship of the Council’s Executive Committee and its Committee on Research Integrity.
NSERC, SSHRC and CIHR, with input from the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC), have undertaken a review of the Agencies’ policy framework for research and scholarly integrity and financial accountability, and are providing regular updates on their work to address key action areas. The Agencies and the AUCC remain committed to continuous improvement in this important area.
NSERC takes complaints of scientific misconduct very seriously. Allegations are reviewed to first determine if the issue falls under NSERC's purview and then whether the issue constitutes scientific misconduct according to the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Integrity in Research and Scholarship.
NSERC does not carry out investigations. Institutions funded by any of the federal funding agencies are required to have an institutional integrity policy in place that complies with the Tri-Council Policy Statement and that outlines procedures for investigating allegations of scientific misconduct. The expected procedures for such investigations are described in the Tri-Council Policy Statement and in the Framework for Tri-Council Review of Institutional Policies Dealing with Integrity in Research.
The agencies have developed the Tri-Agency Process for Addressing Allegations of Non-Compliance with Tri-Agency Policies to ensure consistency in how cases are handled. This process is used for allegations of non-compliance with different agencies’ policies, such as integrity, finance and ethics. Two companion documents are also available:
With SSHRC and CIHR, NSERC created the Interagency Advisory Panel on Research Ethics and the Interagency Secretariat on Research Ethics which ensure that the three agencies remain at the forefront of policy development for the protection of human subjects in research. Institutions, applicants and award holders must adhere to the TCPS 2: Tri‑Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans.
Clear rules and controls related to ethics and integrity are embedded in NSERC’s processes. Before funds are disbursed, certifications must be in place regarding animal care, the approval of research protocols that involve the use of human subjects and the handling of hazardous substances. NSERC also ensures that the research it supports promotes sustainable development and is conducted in a way that respects and protects the environment, in accordance with the Environmental Assessment Act.