ZonMw national programme ‘Fostering Responsible Research Practices’: Call for research proposals

Last modified: May 22, 2017

by Henk Smid

ZonMw has launched a new programme, Fostering Responsible Research Practices (FRRP), to encourage quality, integrity, efficiency and positive social impact in scientific and academic research. We are convinced that sound practices add value to science and to society. FRRP aims to build bridges between science, professional practice and policy by promoting research which is relevant, robust and transparent. It will develop and disseminate useful know-how to improve research-related practices – not just for front-line scientists and institutions, but also for policymakers, financiers and evaluators.

The ambition of the first pillar is to support excellent research proposals aimed at extending our knowledge about the systemic, cultural and individual nature, causes, and frequency of occurrence of responsible research practices (RRP), questionable research practices (QRP) and research misconduct (RM) across the empirical sciences. In September 2016 ZonMw received 45 project ideas. From the four main topics of the first pillar of the national programme, societal relevance, scientific quality, integrity and efficiency, the most common topics which were addressed by researchers were quality and integrity.

The project ideas vary in the research focus e.g. science communication, peer review, research methods, publication and reporting behavior, education, rewarding mechanism etc. ZonMw is pleasantly surprised with this large number of ideas, the creative problem definitions, but also the broad spread of various universities and research institutions. Unfortunately, the limited available budget forces ZonMw to make a well-considered decision. Overall we can conclude that the concerns on RM, QRP and RRP are shared, as expected, by many scientists and academic administrators at universities and university medical centers. Moreover, not only health sciences research themes, like (bio)medical sciences, health care research and epidemiology, but also other scientific disciplines such as social sciences, philosophy and humanities showed their interest in the first pillar of the national programme. The awarded projects within this first pillar will most likely start in May 2017. With help from these projects, ZonMw will make sure that this topic will stay on the agenda.

You can find more information about FRRP on the ZonMw website: www.zonmw.nl/bvo.

Henk Smid is director of ZonMW.

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