Chapter 1: Research Integrity

1.2 Mentoring and Scientific Collaboration


The National Academy of Sciences defines a mentor as someone who takes a special interest in helping another person develop into a successful professional.

Young scientists look to mentors to make a commitment to their education, appropriately delegate responsibilities, review and appraise performance, provide fair attribution of accomplishments and authorship, and offer career guidance. More importantly, mentors play a central role in setting the standard for the responsible conduct of research not only by what they teach but also by their own conduct.

Successful mentoring relationships are characterized by professional courtesy and trust. Formalized guidance on mentor-trainee relationships has been developed by the National Academy of Sciences. Internally, the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs can assist in hiring, advocacy and training.


The NIH Roadmap and recent high profile, interdisciplinary cooperative agreements have increased the importance of establishing effective scientific collaborations. The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute has fostered interdisciplinary collaboration by forming Research Affinity Groups and Centers of Emphasis. These movements reflect the realization that collaborative approaches from diverse teams are required to solve the complex problems facing biomedical science.

Collaboration affords many advantages to researchers. Combining talents, technology and resources enables investigators to ask more powerful questions that generate findings with broader impact. Successful collaborations have the potential to propel existing fields forward or open up new fields of study.

Collaboration can take many forms and range from simple to complex. Many require formal documentation to protect intellectual property or the right to publish. All effective collaborations begin with a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities and documentation of agreements around sharing of data, study goals, publication and authorship, intellectual property and ownership, and financial management. Even when collaborating with our Penn neighbors, CHOP Research investigators are advised to work with the Office of Technology Transfer to complete any required contracts or agreements before proceeding.

Export Control Regulations

Federal export control regulations govern the transfer of certain physical objects (e.g. equipment, compounds, specimens) outside of the US, conducting financial transactions in certain international locations, and the transfer of certain types of information to foreign persons inside or outside of the US.

CHOP has developed an export control management program. All employees are encouraged to review this program. Additional export control training material can be located at Export Control @ CHOP

Areas particularly relevant to research are described below. If you encounter any of these situations, or are involved in the transfer of objects outside of the US in any capacity, please seek guidance to assure compliance with export regulations:

  • Shipping equipment, material, or technologies outside of the US
  • Traveling outside of the US with an encrypted laptop or CHOP information
  • Restrictions on publication within a contract document (clinical trial agreement, material transfer agreement, confidentiality agreement, etc.)
  • Performing research or financial transactions in a restricted or embargoed country such as Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan or Syria (Note: restrictions change frequently- see contact information below to confirm restrictions before commencing research)

Ask the Experts

Wendy Williams, Ph.D.
Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

Matthew Hodgson
Research Compliance and Regulatory Affairs

Office of Technology Transfer

« Back to "Mentoring and Scientific Collaboration"

Developed by the Office of Responsible Research Training