Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 461–469 | Cite as

A Room with a View of Integrity and Professionalism: Personal Reflections on Teaching Responsible Conduct of Research in the Neurosciences

  • Emily Bell
Original Paper


Neuroscientists are increasingly put into situations which demand critical reflection about the ethical and appropriate use of research tools and scientific knowledge. Students or trainees also have to know how to navigate the ethical domains of this context. At a time when neuroscience is expected to advance policy and practice outcomes, in the face of academic pressures and complex environments, the importance of scientific integrity comes into focus and with it the need for training at the graduate level in the responsible conduct of research (RCR). I describe my experience teaching RCR in a graduate neuroscience program and identify three personal reflections where further dialogue could be warranted: (1) mobilizing a common set of competencies and virtues standing for professionalism in the neurosciences; (2) tailoring RCR for the neurosciences and empowering students through the active engagement of mentors; (3) soliciting shared responsibility for RCR training between disciplines, institutions and governmental or funding agencies.


Responsible conduct of research Professionalism Neuroscience Neuroethics Education 



I would like to thank Dr. Cynthia Forlini, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research (UQCCR) for thoughtful comments on the manuscript. I also extend thanks to the staff, students and leadership of the Integrated Program in Neuroscience at McGill University and to Dr. Eric Racine.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neuroethics Research UnitInstitut de recherches cliniques de MontrealMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Department of Neurosurgery and NeurologyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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