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RCR Workshops and Trainings


The Research Ethics Program offers a variety of workshops, lectures and seminars in the domain of research ethics.

Some of these activities are independently developed by the Program; others are provided in response to invitations to speak for various courses, seminar series, departments, and/or programs at UC San Diego.

Intro to Research Ethics

The purpose of this workshop is to discuss what the responsible conduct of research involves. Key areas include: data management; bias and negative results; authorship; publication; and the definition of misconduct.

  • Specific learning objectives with respect to research ethics include:
  • To identify areas of difficulty or controversy in scientific research.
  • To know the relevant professional standards, legal requirements, and ethical guidelines applicable to scientific research.
  • To develop skill in analyzing and resolving ethical problems.
  • To have a positive disposition toward research ethics. 

Authorship: Expectations and Collaborations 

Science is inevitably a collaborative enterprise. As investigators tackle larger and more complex problems, research teams have grown increasingly interdisciplinary, involving experts with varying backgrounds and sometimes-competing expectations. Collaborations involving multiple labs and/or institutions in different countries exacerbate the challenges of effective cooperation. Even collaborators within a given lab often confront thorny issues when it comes to assigning fair credit and authorship. This workshop aims to engage participants in identifying and analyzing problems in scientific collaboration. The ultimate end involves developing effective strategies for managing (or avoiding!) conflicts. This is an interactive workshop using case studies and participant experiences.

Crucial Conversations: Talking to your PI

A successful science career may depend more on our interactions with others than it does on the quality of our science. Unfortunately, good science is all too often impeded by breakdowns in communication. When this happens, our emotions and reason can both sabotage our ability to find a successful resolution. This workshop will review several strategies to increase the chance that a crucial conversation will be a successful conversation.

Ethical Considerations when Designing Research involving Diverse Populations

In this interactive session participants will explore how to engage, recruit and retain diverse populations in research. Best practices for planning and conducting responsible and respectful research with diverse and under-represented populations will also be discussed. Participants will further develop an appreciation for cultivating authentic community collaborations.

Learning Objectives:

  • Increase awareness of how to engage, recruit and retain diverse populations in health research
  • Know how to plan and conduct responsible and respectful research with diverse and under-represented populations
  • Develop an appreciation for developing authentic community collaborations

Ethical issues in clinical research with vulnerable populations

In this workshop, we discuss ethical issues in clinical research with vulnerable populations who by the very nature of their condition may be at risk for diminished capacity to consent. Groups that may be at risk for pressures of “undue influence” –including older adults and persons with serious mental illness, prisoners and people in other forms of institutions, people with disorders for which there exists no present effective treatments, etc may be considered as part of this discussion. Issues around the balance of considerations of autonomy, prescriptive aspects of beneficence, proscriptive (non-maleficence), and justice are discussed. These are not issues of good vs. evil (at least not always), but rather issues of competing positive/well-meaning intentions

Objectivity & Overcoming Bias 

Objectivity is central to scientific research. The use of appropriate controls, double blinded studies, and statistic methods all aim to eliminate biased or skewed results. Yet confirmation bias, blind spots, and gender, racial or ethnic biases may undermine the generalisability of even basic research. This workshop examines three case studies demonstrating how the sourcing of cell lines, enrollment in clinical trials, and the design of medical devices may undermine the objectivity of scientific research and contribute to health disparities. We will then consider best practice guidelines and new standards for investigators in areas such as medical research. Attendees are encouraged to play an active role in thinking about how to implement these strategies in their own research and training. 

Rigor and Reproducibility

Societal benefits of research depend on the trustworthiness and reliability of that research. Unfortunately, recent years have been characterized by increased concerns about the high frequency of research that is not reproducible. In response to this challenge, the NIH and many others have called for better preparation of researchers to conduct rigorous and reproducible research. As one mechanism to promote training in reproducibility, the UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute proposed the creation and testing of a two‐hour workshop on this topic. These materials are the products of those efforts. 

With support from the ACTRI, the Research Ethics Program offers a two-hour workshop module on reproducibility to promote reflection and discussion about fostering reproducible research. Reproducibility and Rigor resources for academics. 

Successful Mentor/Mentee Relations 

This interactive session will focus on elements of a successful mentor-mentee relationship. The mentoring of a less experienced researcher is an important responsibility of all scientists. Mentors are one pathway for mentees to learn about the responsible conduct of research and associated ethical, legal and social implications. The success of a mentor/mentee partnership is dependent on awareness of expectations, transparent communications and recognition and management of power dynamics.

Team Science & Collaboration

In this workshop, participants will learn about the ethical and pragmatic issues of Team Science. Through participation in this workshop and the group discussions you will learn “learn to learn” about emerging and future points of potential tension and conflict and be able to articulate the nature of Team Science relative to a scientific team. The specific ethical and pragmatic issues in credit for contributions in Team Science will also be discussed.

Learning Objectives:

  • To be able to articulate the nature of Team Science relative to a scientific team
  • To be aware of specific ethical and pragmatic issues in credit for contributions in Team Science
  • To “learn to learn” about emerging and future points of potential tension and conflict


Train-the-trainer workshops are available for faculty who are interested in learning ways to promote ethical and responsible research. Please contact us if you would like to inquire about Train-the-Trainer options. 

Ethics in Artificial Intelligence and Digital Health

Increasingly, digital tools and strategies are used in biomedical and behavioral research. A 2-hour workshop is available to learn about how pervasive sensors, social media platforms and mobile devices are being used with a focus on the related ethical, legal and social implications associated with “digital health” research.

Ethical Challenges in Research

We offer monthly many of the listed workshops through the Office of Postdoctoral Scholar Affairs on topics associated with research ethics - see their schedule for availability.