48. Outreach to Research Participants and the Community

Updated June 22, 2021

The University and Research Integrity (RI) is centered on the belief that providing resources to the research community helps to ensure the conduct of ethical research. This in turn leads to the protection of individuals who choose to participate in the wide array of projects available across campus. Research Integrity senior staff, some of whom have backgrounds in research, are available to assist research teams in navigating the complexities of the regulatory landscape.

We will work one-on-one with new (and not so new) investigators, and can arrange meetings in our offices, or at the investigator’s research space – both to help navigate IRBNet, and to facilitate the preparation of research applications. At the request of an investigator, Research Integrity staff can develop training programs for faculty, fellows, residents, staff, and students who are conducting, or learning to conduct, human research.

The University and the Research Integrity provide multiple channels to

  • direct inquiries about human research to individuals who possess sufficient knowledge and understanding to respond accordingly and without bias; and
  • provide information about human research conducted by the University to past, present and future research participants and to local communities.

Mechanisms for Contacting Research Integrity

Research Integrity and the IRB will receive and respond to complaints or other concerns from research participants, investigators, research staff, and members of the community. The Contact Us page of the Research Integrity website provides contact information for the Director and staff of the Research Integrity office, for individuals interested in information specific to human research. Individuals preferring to remain anonymous may complete and submit an online the Contact Research Integrity form, also available from Contact Us page of the Research Integrity website.

Researchers may report problems or complaints to Research Integrity using the reportable event forms, as specified in the online policy for reporting problems to the IRB. Senior Research staff will work with the parties involved, obtaining information and if applicable contacting the Principal Investigator/study team members of the implicated study to achieve satisfactory resolution.

Providing Information to Current, Former, and Prospective Research Participants

University and Affiliate researchers are required to provide information to current, former, and prospective research participants about whom to contact for concerns, questions, or complaints about a research project.
The templates for consent forms and information sheets contain sample language for providing contact information for

  • Research Integrity, as an entity that is unaffiliated with a specific research study; and
  • at least one researcher who can respond to callers' problems, concerns, and questions about the research.

Information for research participants page available from the Research Integrity website, the office provides general information about human research for the public.

Procedures for Improving Community Outreach Efforts

The Research Integrity Director or designee(s) will evaluate, make changes, and implement changes to the outreach program as needed. Periodic assessments of outreach efforts and the outreach program are done at least annually, and more frequently, if needed. Each year Research Integrity staff members will target one or two outreach efforts to review. Changes will be discussed at staff meetings and documented in IRBNet.

Institutional Outreach Goals

The University of Nevada, Reno Mission Statement, approved in its current form by the NSHE Board of Regents on December 4, 2014, identified three interconnected "core themes" that relate to its broad mission. The third theme, "Engagement" relates directly to community outreach.

Theme 3 - Engagement

Strengthen the social, economic, and environmental well-being of Nevada citizens, communities, organizations, and governments through community outreach and reciprocal partnerships.

Theme 3 goals that are relevant to human research include:

  • fostering public engagement of faculty in research;
  • developing partnerships between on-campus education programs and community-based Extension and outreach;
  • encouraging community focused university-county-city-state partnerships to enhance the value of university resources for Nevadans; and
  • improving mental and physical health and quality of life for Nevadans by formalizing partnerships with local hospitals, increasing the available clinical services, and expanding and enhancing the quality of post-graduate education in medicine, public health, and nursing.

Metrics used to track progress towards Theme 3 include

  • creating awards for community engagement;
  • implementing an annual engagement report;
  • tracking partnerships between on-campus education programs and community-based programs;
  • tracking collaborations with University alumni;
  • providing recognition for community engagement activities in the tenure and promotion process;
  • establishing community-based programs in an "Innovation Center";
  • establishing formal partnerships with hospitals;
  • obtaining accreditation for a Master and PhD of Public Health;
  • increasing the number of students participating in Service Learning;
  • increasing the number of children participating in 4-H (through UNCE);
  • increasing the degree to which the University participates in statewide disaster preparedness programs; and
  • formalizing partnerships with regional businesses, nonprofit and government sectors.

Institutional Outreach Mechanisms

The Vice President for Research and Innovation (VPRI) role is to enhance research for University faculty by ensuring the necessary infrastructure for service and compliance is available, and by supporting collaboration and innovation. The VPRI offers an introductory pamphlet describing the infrastructure: Research Support and Services and Programs which is available from Sponsored Projects.

The University offers the following online resources for students, faculty, researchers, and members of the community to obtain information about research at Nevada (listed in alphabetical order):

Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE): A comprehensive website describing the collaboration between the UUNR Med and the University of Nevada, Reno Biology department in supporting medical and basic research. Includes information about and links for

  • Research projects
  • Seminar series
  • COBRE publications, news articles, and announcements
  • COBRE faculty

The Center for Integrative Neuroscience: Provides information about and links for the University's neuroscience center, including current and past faculty and graduate student research projects, publications, Special Populations Database, neuroimaging, and the NeuroLecture Speaker Series.

College of Business, Business Resources and Centers: Provides information about and links for economics seminars and research, business-related research and information centers at the University, and faculty publications.

College of Engineering, K-12 Programs: Provides information about research and K-12 outreach activities offered by engineering faculty and students.

College of Education & Human Development, Child & Family Research Center (CFRC): Provides information about and links for CFRC programs and research activities including Nevada Infrastructure for Climate Change Science, Education and Outreach, Nevada Center for Excellence in Disabilities, research projects for students and teachers in science, math, and literacy.

Desert Research Institute (DRI): The DRI serves as the environmental research arm of the Nevada system of Higher Education, with main campuses in Reno, and Las Vegas. DRIs is an Affiliate site in that research involving participants is overseen by the RI and the University IRB.

Latino Research Center: Serves as a link between the University and the Latino community by providing information about research, student achievement, collaborative activities, and outreach.

Nevada Agricultural Experiment Station (NAES): Provides information about and links for research projects, publications and newsletters, and calendar of events featuring invited speakers; and through its Community Outreach and Services page provides information and links for research involving economic development, genomics, biomedical research, youth development programs, and water quality.

Nevada Center for Surveys, Evaluation, and Statistics combines three prior individual research service centers: Center for Research Design and Analysis (CRDA), Nevada Center for Health Statistics and Informatics (NCHSI) and the Center for Program Evaluation (CPE), into a stronger, more comprehensive, single center.

Raggio Research Center: Provides information about and links for the center's research activities and projects promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education.

Research and Innovation (VPRI): This page, available from the Home page of the University, offers the following types of information:

  • Research Profiles: highlights University faculty engaged in research
  • Research Projects: provides an overview of University research activities, including projects involving human participants
  • Infrastructure: references the 60+ research centers, facilities, and laboratories
  • Opportunities: identifies opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to engage in research through degree programs

Sanford Center for Aging: Provides information about and links for aging-related community outreach, events, resources and publications, and research (through the Aging Research Collaborative).

The School of Social Research and Justice Studies: Provides information about and links for faculty research and publications related to social-psychology, sociology, communication, and criminal justice.

Undergraduate Research: Provides information about and links for undergraduate research for students, faculty mentors, and opportunities for undergraduate students to engage in research.

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE): In the spirit of a land-grant institution, this comprehensive website provides information about and links for UNCE research and community programs, events, publications, and resources including UNCE Community Development Programs.
University of Nevada School of Medicine Research: Provides information about and links for

  • research training programs, resources, and compliance for students, faculty and scientists; and
  • current activities in medical research conducted by School of Medicine faculty.

Evaluation of Institutional Outreach Mechanisms

Research Integrity staff periodically complete a comprehensive search of the University webpages to identify new sites, update information, and delete sites that may no longer fit the purpose of community outreach related to human research activities. An abbreviated evaluation may occur when the Research Integrity learns of new sites, closure of programs or sites, or important changes to the University organizational structure.

Research Integrity staff consider any complaints, concerns, suggestions, and other input from participants or others within the research community and consider other departmental outreach efforts on campus.

Research Integrity staff make periodic assessments of outreach efforts and the outreach program at least annually, and more frequently, if needed, as determined by the Vice President for Research and Innovation.