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Changing researcher training ‘could curb sexual misconduct’

Single-supervisor training of researchers might need to end to help prevent sexual misconduct, the Unites States’ House Committee on Science, Space and Technology has suggested.

Having a single supervisor responsible for training “could be a contributor” to high rates of sexual misconduct in research, committee chairman Lamar Smith and subcommittee chairwoman Barbara Comstock wrote in a letter to Gene Dodaro, the comptroller-general of the Government Accountability Office.

“A new model for education and training without sole advising and training responsibilities could help eliminate opportunities for misconduct,” Smith and Comstock said in the letter, dated 19 September. They did not suggest what this new model might look like, but stressed that “high-value or superstar employees” such as grant recipients present a higher risk for harassment because victims might be more reluctant to report them.

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