Become a certified trainer on research integrity and ethics
The VIRT2UE Project, founded by the European Commission in 2018, has developed a blended learning train the trainer program on Research Integrity which provides participants with the knowledge and skills to conduct a research integrity course. Trainers are taught how to foster reflection on scientific virtues in researchers, and how to promote understanding of the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity.
This free training program will be offered at different locations across Europe.
The training will offer:
- 26 trainings across Europe
- Face to face lessons by experts near you
- Online toolbox with exercises to train yourself and build your training
- A community of trainers
A virtue ethics approach to teaching research integrity
The train-the-trainer program has an aspirational approach, and focuses on what it means to be a good and virtuous researcher. Instead of teaching about rules and norms, the training focuses primarily on promoting reflection on personal attitudes and behaviors. Participants learn how to train others to reflect on concrete cases and moral dilemmas in research, and to use tools that foster reflection in others. This will foster skills that enable trainees to integrate the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity in their day-to-day professional life.
The VIRT2UE train-the-trainer program combines online learning and participatory exercises. Online materials are designed for individual learning and reflection and provide an introduction to the main research issues and philosophical concepts in research integrity. The face-to-face training develops participants’ teaching skills and provides opportunities for interactive, reflective and case-based group activities. The online and face-to-face courses are complementary. Online preparation is required for the face-to-face exercises, and the online exercises need to be supported by experiences provided in the face-to-face meetings.
To enable contextualized research integrity teaching across Europe, the VIRT2UE train-the-trainer program provides adaptable course material. The exercises represent a toolbox from which trainers can build their own courses tailored to the needs of their students. Trainers are encouraged to adapt the materials and modules, as long as the underlying virtue ethics approach and learner-centeredness are maintained.
The VIRT2UE toolbox will be completely open source and is available on The Embassy of Good Science, an online wiki-platform which serves as a hub for all of those committed to ‘good science’. The platform’s wiki functionalities allow for high flexibility because trainers can access the training material directly online, suggest changes, and build new modules and share them with a community of trainers.
By registering for the VIRT2UE train-the-trainer program you have the opportunity to become a certified trainer in the field of research integrity and ethics.
The interactive online modules provide a basic understanding of relevant concepts, like virtues, values, norms, moral dilemmas and moral conflicts. They also provide an overview of the principles underlying the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity. It is crucial for participants to complete the online course in advance of the face-to-face training in order to acquire a shared understanding of the program’s core concepts.
In the face-to-face training, participants learn and practice five participatory exercises, supervised by a trainer.
Program participants receive a certificate when they have completed the online and face-to-face courses and trained ten further researchers. The training of ten further researchers can be completed during or after the duration of the program.
Find a face-to-face training near you
Please contact us if you would like to participate in the VIRT2UE train-the-trainer.
General questions about the VIRT2UE train-the-trainer programme:
- Why is the training called a train-the-trainer programme?
The training aims to train trainers, who after the training can use the exercises to train researchers. In the train the trainer programme, the trainers will experience the exercises, learn how to facilitate them, and learn how to choose which exercise to use for which occasion.
- What are the learning goals for the VIRT2UE training?
The learning goals of the overall VIRT2UE train the trainer programme and the learning goals for the individual online modules and participatory exercises can been seen here.
- What prior knowledge do I need to participate in the train the trainer program?
Participants should be familiar with all phases of research processes and be aware of integrity challenges researchers might face. No prior knowledge in philosophy or ethical theory is required.
- What is the language of the training?
The exercises can be taught in any language. The preparatory online courses and instruction manuals, however, currently are only available in English. Therefore, English skills are required to participate in the train the trainer program.
- How does the course material relate to our obligations with our National Code of Conduct?
The VIRT2UE programme has been developed by a European consortium funded by the European Commission. It is built around fostering a 'professional ethic' in researchers (the virtue ethics approach) and promoting knowledge of the European Code of Conduct on Research Integrity (ECoC). You need to check the obligations in your own National Code of Conduct, however many are in line with the ECoC and state that institutions are obliged to proved training on research ethics and research integrity but the content of that training is not specified.
Practical considerations when using the VIRT2UE training material:
- Who is the target audience of the VIRT2UE training material?
The online modules and participatory exercises are designed for researchers (all disciplines, all levels).
- Are the exercises adaptable to the learning group?
When using the participatory exercises in their own teaching, trainers may adapt them according to the needs of their learning group. The VIRT2UE program is based on a toolbox approach that allows for a high level of flexibility and supports learner-centered teaching. Trainers are encouraged to share their adaptations and experiences on the Embassy of Good Science.
- What’s the duration of each of the participatory exercises when delivered by trainers?
Between half an hour (for the debate/dialogue exercise or a basic version of the dilemma game for example) and an hour and a half (for more complex approaches such as the virtues and norms exercise)
- Would everyone involved in research need to attend all exercises?
The programme gives trainers a toolbox of approaches that aim to foster 'scientific virtues' that they can choose from to use in different contexts. Everyone involved in research would not need to attend all exercises. See here for sample programmes.
Questions on VIRT2UE train-the-trainer programme certification:
- What happens if I miss a session of the train-the-trainer programme?
If you miss a session due to illness or other obligations, we ask you to attend the ‘practice’ of the exercise that was the focus of the session conducted by one of your course mates and also practice facilitating the exercise yourself. Afterwards, you reflect on your experience by filling in the reflection form.
- When do I get a certificate as a trained trainer?
To obtain the certificate, you need to create a learning portfolio. The portfolio needs to include:
An overview table of tasks completed:  Reflection forms detailing your experiences facilitating the participatory exercises  Evidence of training 10 researchers (screenshot of zoom/attendance sheet/attendance declaration) Your training needs to include at least three of the participatory group exercises from the VIRT2UE toolbox. However, you may adapt these exercises to the needs of your participants as long as learner-centeredness and a virtue ethics approach are maintained.
You should also include the address you would like the certificate sent to (this can be a work or home address)!
- A trainer has to train 10 people. What if two trainers have their sessions together? Should they together train 20, or would the 10 participants count for both of them?
If two trainers train together, they should train 20 researchers to receive the certificate
- What if someone does each exercise with at least ten people, but not all people participate in all sessions?
If each participant attends four of the five sessions, this seems less problematic than having five completely different groups.
- What if we train 10 people with five trainers (each of us does one exercise)? Would these 10 people count for the project but for none of the trainers?
They would definitely count for the project and could be used as practice session for the trainers.
- What is the deadline for our trainees to finish their trainings, and what are possibilities for extension?
Trained trainers should finish their own training by July 15.