The Department of Bioengineering is committed to advancing the frontiers of our field, and performing our research and educational mission, in accordance with the highest standards of ethical conduct. This is particularly evident in the training of our students. All bioengineering graduate students are required to take a core course in the Responsible Conduct of Research during their first year. This is a face-to-face course that involves lectures as well as online assessment through the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI). Topics covered throughout this required work included ethical issues regarding the use of human and animal subjects and tissues, record-keeping, publications, authorship, conflicts of interest, and proper conduct within the scientific and research community.
In addition to this training as part of our graduate curriculum, graduate students’ mentors hold regular lab meetings that include training in the proper conduct of research and discussion when ethical issues occur within the lab. The mentors also meet with graduate students one-on-one or in small groups on a regular basis to discuss the details of their research work. These discussions include proper experimental techniques, record-keeping, and mentoring regarding interactions with collaborators, fellow graduate students, other professors, and undergraduates. This has included guidance on how best to mentor undergraduate research assistants including training them in these techniques to make sure that the highest standard of research conduct is maintained throughout the lab.
Justice, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion
The field of bioengineering—at its very core—is interdisciplinary, collaborative, and translational. As we collectively strive to find solutions to critical challenges in the field, it is only to our benefit as scientists to draw from and celebrate the diverse experiences, identities, discoveries, and innovations of our community.
When the university announced the Rice Investment, the Bioengineering department took “talent deserves opportunity” as a call to action. While we have always valued the commitment to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion resolved by Rice University trustees, faculty governance, and administration, we acknowledge that we have not always aligned our practices—including our hiring and admissions practices—with this commitment. We aim to continually and sustainably identify and correct the practices within our department that are not aligned with justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. We aim to make opportunities to work and learn in our department available, accessible, and inclusive to those who have for too long been excluded.
Toward these goals, we have taken the following steps:
- We established a faculty-student committee on justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.
- We eliminated the requirement for GRE testing for applications to the PhD program.
- We eliminated the application fee to the PhD program.
- We developed a new seminar series focused on building an inclusive environment.
Justice, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Committee
The Rice Bioengineering Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Committee meets monthly during the academic year.
- 2020-21 Committee Members
Caleb Bashor, Ph.D., faculty
Jane Grande-Allen, Ph.D., faculty & co-chair (spring only)
Kathryn Kundrod, Ph.D. student
David Li, Ph.D., faculty
Kevin McHugh, Ph.D., faculty
Trenton Piepergerdes, Ph.D. student
Renata Ramos, Ph.D., faculty
Rebecca Richards-Kortum, Ph.D., faculty & co-chair
Jerzy Szablowski, Ph.D., faculty
- Committee Priorities, Actions & Timeline
- 2021 Statements from the JEDI committee