Update from RIA Director Stuart Leland
Distributed to research community on Nov 13, 2012
It’s been just over two months since I started my new position leading the Office of Research Integrity and Assurance (RIA) and I wish to express my gratitude to the many people who have reached out and offered wisdom and words of support. While I’ve personally visited with some of you, I hope to visit many more of you before the end of the year. I appreciate the feedback I’ve received and want to encourage all of you to continue telling me what is working well and what is not working. I am listening, trying to connect the dots, and prioritize as I set my agenda for the coming year.
In my role overseeing the IRB, IACUC, IBC and COI, many of the issues I hear repeatedly can be summarized in three words: forms, process, and training. I don’t want to give the impression that these are newly recognized problematic areas but I do want to acknowledge the continued frustration I have heard from many of you and let you know that these issues are connected. Many of our forms are outdated and do not ask the questions in such a manner as to solicit the information required by regulation. Our processes are not written down and therefore may be delivered inconsistently. We do not routinely measure metrics. Our forms and processes rely too much on human effort and do not take advantage of electronic review, modification, approval, and notification. We can improve our training in regulatory compliance so that an understanding exists for the regulatory basis of the questions contained on our forms as well as the processes used to review and approve them. Finally, we have a new website (www.princeton.edu/ria) that is slowly being populated with a number of valuable resources to assist the research community in filling out and submitting forms.
With these observations, I plan to focus my priorities, at least initially, on the following:
- Refining existing forms and developing new forms where needed
- Short term development of more efficient and consistent processes
- Outreach to the research community with training on regulatory compliance and the internal resources available to fill out the forms correctly the first time. This will be coupled with the development of a practical and useful website for RIA.
- Long term research into choosing an electronic management system to facilitate administration and regulatory compliance oversight of the IRB, IACUC, IBC, and COI. Ideally, we can identify one system that would cover all of these needs.
I am very pleased with the capable staff I inherited and I am working diligently to fill those remaining positions to complete my organization. The IRB is supported by Andrea Ferguson-Dadas, Gloria Gaines, and German Jimenez. The IACUC is supported by Pam Straeter, Erica Graser and Nicole Prashad. Erica Graser also supports the IBC. Jennifer (“J”) Pass has been providing IT and technical support primarily in the area of form development and process. In the next few months, I hope to perform more outreach and to introduce the RIA group to the Princeton community. In the meantime, I invite you to reach out to me and/or my staff with any questions, suggestions, or concerns. It is my goal that the RIA Office be perceived as trusted colleagues working to facilitate the compliance aspects of your research. I am thrilled to be a part of the Princeton community and look forward to transforming our research support efforts to better help you perform your research in a fully compliant manner.
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