August 1, 2014


Swope BuildingWhile MBL has always been a leading research center for the training of experimental biologists, where world-renowned scientists have taught through example for over a century, federal regulations now require the training of ethical conduct to be a more formalized part of biomedical research programs. There are nine critical components included in all formal trainings.  They are research misconduct, data acquisition, publication practices, conflict of interest, mentor/trainee responsibility, peer review, collaborative science, animal welfare, and human subjects.  Because MBL accommodates many different levels of scientists in their early careers, several training programs have been developed to ensure that each level starts with a good foundation.  These include:

Training for Postdocs and Research Associates

In order to receive the most comprehensive training in ethics, the program for postdocs and research associates includes a combination of three training types:

On-line training for research misconduct, data acquisition, publication practices, and conflict of interest.  This training is sponsored by the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) at the University of Miami and serves over 1300 institutions.  To participate in the on-line training, log onto and click on Register Here.  Complete the several-step registration process, choosing Marine Biological Laboratory as the Participating Institution.  Once logged in, go to the main menu, click on Biomedical Responsible Conduct of Research, RCR, and complete all of the required modules, videos, and quizzes.  Optional modules offer more case studies and further clarification.  If your research funds are supported by NIH, you will also need to click on Conflict of Interest, Stage 1, and complete all three required modules and quizzes including the Integrity Assurance Statement.

Written materials cover mentor/trainee responsibilities, peer review, and collaborative science.  Documents are emailed to postdocs and research associates who are expected to read through them and be prepared to ask questions about them during in-house discussions.

In-house discussionsare held annually in the form of presentations by at least two senior scientists or by role playing in the Office of Research Integrity’s (ORI) interactive movie called “The Lab.”

people on steps

Training for REUs and Undergraduate Students:

Undergraduate employees and students participating in the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) program may participate in an on-line program, receive individualized training from their mentors who are required to submit summaries of that training, or attend at least one community-wide ethics lecture on which they prepare a written report.

Training for Students in MBL Summer Courses

MBL Course Directors facilitate an hour-long discussion among the summer course students on ethical practices specific to the topic of their course and report the outcome to MBL’s Education Office.

Training for Graduate Students:

Brown-MBL Graduate Students are trained through Brown University with arrangements for that training made through MBL’s Brown-MBL Coordinator.