NCPRE is housed in the Coordinated Science Laboratory in The Grainger College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Founded in 2012, we started with an NSF-funded project in research ethics, and have come to see that fostering an ethical climate is inseparable from a wider culture of institutional integrity and principled, effective leadership. For us, leadership—and particularly ethical leadership—is a key component of setting institutional tone and promoting excellence in professional interactions and achievements.

NCPRE’s work is based on evidence-based practices and research on research integrity, misconduct, and cultures of excellence, which focus on professional skills and dispositions typically not focused on during discipline-focused education or compliance-based Responsible Conduct of Research training. 

We are fortunate to be able to draw on the expertise of a broad range of consultants, and together with them the NCPRE team draws on a number of previously developed, evidence-based, and time-tested strategies, tools, and skills.

In all its activities, NCPRE is committed to forming, developing, and supporting academic cultures of excellence.

  • We recognize that no one seeks disaster, and few people knowingly act unethically; small choices are important in setting personal and ethical pathways.
  • Institutional context, organizational culture, peer influences, and setting an example at the top all contribute to promoting an ethical professional climate—or its opposite.
  • We create tools, systems, and resources to help universities and other institutions educate their members about ethics.
  • We define professional and research ethics as the smart choice, not just the right choice; they promote effectiveness and productivity in the long run.
  • We help institutions assess the integrity of their environments, and develop strategies for improving them.
  • We develop leaders using evidence-based, practical, applied strategies that include self-reflection and ethical values.
  • When things go wrong, we provide strategies for improving matters and setting a better course of action.
  • We help emerging professionals to understand the importance of their ethical and professional choices, and to view themselves as responsible leaders.

The underlying values and norms that create this kind of institutional culture are set by institutional leaders and the inclusiveness they foster. Leaders recognize that responsible conduct of research does not occur in a vacuum, and that environments shape individual actions. The responsibilities of researchers and mentors is to create, maintain an environment that cultivates and supports the best and highest standards. Through initiatives like Transforming Challenged Units (TCU) and individual leadership development, we develop leaders using evidence-based, practical, applied strategies. And when things go wrong, we provide strategies for salvage and for returning to business as usual.