Thoughts from the President

March 24, 2023 - Research Integrity Officer

Dear Danforth Center Community,

There is no question that research at the Danforth Center must be done with honesty and integrity. In fact, our credibility as scientists and as a research institution depends entirely on our colleagues, funding agencies and the public seeing and believing that we adhere to high standards of research conduct. The responsibility for doing so is shared between researchers, PIs, support teams, leadership team, and the institution. Which brings us to Jim Umen, who recently assumed the role of Research Integrity Officer (RIO) at the Center.

What, you ask, is a RIO? As a recipient of National Institutes of Health and other federal grant funds, we are required to have people and processes in place to assure responsible conduct of research, and to effectively respond to allegations and instances of misconduct. We are also required to report annually to the Office of Research Integrity within the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services on possible research misconduct, which could relate to data falsification, data fabrication, or plagiarism. The RIO receives all allegations of misconduct, and leads an inquiry or formal investigation. The investigation process is rigorous and involves the President and VP for Research, as detailed in the Center’s Research Integrity Policy (posted on Workvivo under the “Integrity of Research” space.) The RIO also submits our annual report to the federal government, regardless of whether or not any allegations or investigations were done.

The RIO at the Danforth Center also participates in the review and reporting of potential conflicts of interest. We have an annual process whereby financial or other potential conflicts of interests are declared and reported to our Board of Directors. As part of that process, the RIO and the VP for Finance meet with potentially conflicted individuals, as well as with team members who might be affected. They review rules and boundaries necessary to prevent a potential conflict of interest from becoming a real problem.

I sincerely appreciate Jim Umen for stepping into the important RIO role. If we all do our work responsibly and with high integrity, we can make Jim’s job easy. And finally, many thanks go to Toby Kellogg, who has served generously, effectively and wisely as RIO for nearly a decade. Toby, we are a better Danforth Center because of your efforts!

Jim Carrington,
President and Chief Executive Officer

P.S. Anyone with any concern about potential research misconduct should contact Jim Umen directly, who will maintain confidentiality to the maximum extent possible.

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