Academics who have been convicted of harassment or bullying have not been allowed to apply for research funding or supervise early career scholars funded in the Republic of Ireland.
A new policy on bullying, harassment and sexual harassment launched by the Irish Research Council (IRC) indicates that all researchers applying for funding must self-certify that they have not had an allegation of bullying or harassment against them “for which there is currently a warning or a disciplinary sanction “.
When applying for IRC Early Career Fellowships, all academic supervisors and mentors must make a similar declaration.
The policy also states that institutions that host IRC laureates “must deal promptly and appropriately with allegations and incidents of bullying, harassment or sexual harassment.”
“Institutions are required to notify the IRC when an allegation of intimidation and / or harassment against an IRC scholarship participant has been confirmed or when a confirmed allegation involves an academic supervisor / mentor of an IRC researcher. IRC funded postdoctoral or postdoctoral fellow ”says the funder.
Peter Brown, Director of IRC, said that creating a “safe and respectful research environment for all is the collective challenge we face”.
“Our new policy aims to send a clear message to everyone involved in the research system that bullying and harassment is not acceptable,” he said.
“By working with our department, other research funders and the wider higher education system, we aim to ensure that we build a research system free of bullying and harassment – a system where Early career researchers feel fully supported to advance in their careers and where all researchers can work with dignity and respect.
The country’s government last year asked Irish universities to develop institutional plans to tackle sexual violence and harassment.
“At the institutional level, it is the responsibility to ensure that allegations of bullying and harassment are promptly investigated and dealt with effectively – and that students, researchers and other members of the staff feel comfortable and confident in reporting abuse, ”Brown continued.
“It is also the responsibility of mentors and supervisors to ensure that they never abuse their position of power. And it is the responsibility of early career researchers – and indeed researchers at all levels – to speak out against inappropriate behavior when it occurs.
“While we should be vigilant in eliminating unacceptable behavior, it is also important that good practices, such as supportive supervision and mentoring, are recognized and applauded, and we will have announcements to come in this regard. “