RCR Framework Interpretations: External member on an Investigation Committee

1. Why is an external member required on an institutional investigation committee?

The RCR Framework requires that institutional investigation committees have at least one external member who has no current affiliation with the institution investigating the allegation. By being free of institutional bias, the external member adds a measure of objectivity and fairness to the investigation process.

Every RCR matter is unique. Depending on the nature of the allegation to be investigated, institutions are encouraged to consider what types of expertise or experience the investigation requires. This will help to determine who to seek as an external member.

2. Who would be an appropriate external member?

Anyone who has no current affiliation with the institution responsible for investigating an allegation may be an appropriate external member. Examples of appropriate external members are:

3. Who would not be an appropriate external member?

To ensure the independence of an institutional investigation committee, an external member must not have a perceived bias with respect to the institution. Examples of inappropriate external members are:

4. How can institutions identify an external member to serve on an investigation committee?

There are many avenues that institutions can consider when trying to identify an external member. These may include: approaching individuals within institutions that are eligible to administer Agency funds who are familiar with the Framework and the RCR process; communicating with universities or colleges that are within close proximity to the institution to facilitate in-person meetings; or looking to institutions further afield.

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