Research and Grants

Export Control Policy

Title: Export Control Policy
Policy Owner: Office of the Vice President for Research
Applies to: Faculty, Staff, Students, Others
Campus Applicability:  All
Effective Date: 12/14/2015
For More Information, Contact Research Compliance Services
Contact Information: exportcontrol@uconn.edu, or (860) 486-8704
Official Website: http://research.uconn.edu/rcs/export-control/

 

REASON FOR POLICY

Federal regulations govern how certain information, technologies, and commodities can be transmitted overseas or to a foreign national on U.S. soil. The scope of the regulations is broad: they cover exports in virtually all fields of science, engineering, and technology and apply to research activities regardless of the source of funding. Failure to comply with these laws can have serious consequences, both for the institution and for the individual researcher. The potential penalties include fines and imprisonment. These laws are collectively referred to as export control laws.

The University of Connecticut (UConn) encourages and supports open research and the free exchange of ideas. Although most university activities and research are exempt from export control laws, UConn engages in activities, research, and the development of new technologies that are subject to these export restrictions. UConn has established the procedures necessary to ensure the university and its employees remain in full compliance.

APPLIES TO 

This policy applies to all faculty, staff, students, researchers, and all other individuals working at the University of Connecticut Storrs, Regional Campuses, and UConn Health.

POLICY STATEMENT

UConn is committed to compliance with export control laws and regulations, including those implemented by the U.S. Department of Commerce through its Export Administration Regulations (EAR), the U.S. Department of State through its International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), as well as embargo regulations imposed by the U.S. Treasury Department through its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

The Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) is the designated authority charged with compliance oversight of the U.S. export control requirements for UConn and has final authority on such matters. Research Compliance Services, an office within OVPR, is the functional administrative unit charged with the responsibility for oversight of export control compliance and recordkeeping.

Individuals acting on behalf of the University, including faculty, staff and students, are responsible for the proper handling, transfer, access, storage, control, and dissemination of export controlled hardware, software, information, technology, and technical data to destinations and persons outside of the U.S., as well as in some cases, to foreign nationals at the university engaging in instruction, conducting research, or providing service activities.

The University typically conducts fundamental research in basic and applied science or engineering, which is widely and openly published and made available to the scientific and academic community. This allows for the Fundamental Research Exclusion, which means the research results are exempt from export control laws. But export control laws could apply if the research is not considered fundamental research, or if the research has restrictions on publication, foreign national participation, or restricted access to/disclosure of research results.  Please contact Research Compliance Services if you have any questions on whether or not export control laws apply to your particular activity.

ENFORCEMENT

Violations of this policy may result in appropriate disciplinary measures in accordance with University Laws and By-Laws, General Rules of Conduct for All University Employees, applicable collective bargaining agreements, and the University of Connecticut Student Code.

The civil and criminal penalties associated with violating export control regulations can be severe, ranging from administrative sanctions including loss of research funding, to monetary penalties, and imprisonment. Anyone found to have engaged in conduct contrary to this policy is subject to disciplinary action by the university up to and including dismissal or expulsion and civil or criminal prosecution.

PROCEDURES

Export control compliance protocols and procedures are available online at: http://research.uconn.edu/rcs/export-control/

POLICY HISTORY

Policy created: 12/14/2015 (Approved by the Vice President for Research)

 1/12/2016 (Approved and Adopted by the UConn Health Policy Committee)

Intellectual Property and Commercialization Policy

Title: Intellectual Property and Commercialization Policy
Policy Owner: Office of the Vice President for Research
Applies to: Faculty, Staff, Students
Campus Applicability: Storrs and Regional Campuses and UConn Health
Effective Date: September 30, 2015
For More Information, Contact  Office of the Vice President for Research
Contact Information:  860-486-3619
Official Website:  http://research.uconn.edu/ 

 

Reason for Policy:  The University encourages the development and commercialization of intellectual property invented, created and developed by faculty, students and staff.  Intellectual property generally consists of patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets.  This policy sets out the University’s policies with respect to such intellectual property, including its ownership, protection and commercialization.  The policy is organized as follows: (1) Ownership and Protection of Intellectual Property, (2) Commercialization of Intellectual Property, (3) Income Derived from Intellectual Property, (4) Licensing and New Company Formation, (5) Dealing with Outside Parties, (6) Other Considerations, (7) Exceptions, (8) Enforcement, and (9) Related Policies and Procedures. No policy of this nature can cover every possible scenario but it seeks to provide clarity on intellectual property and commercialization issues.  The Office of the Vice President for Research (“OVPR”) is the entity at the University primarily responsible for implementing and interpreting this Intellectual Property and Commercialization Policy, and is ready to work with faculty, staff and students to explain these policies and make determinations in specific cases.

Applies to: Faculty, staff and students at the Storrs and Regional Campuses and UConn Health

1. Ownership and Protection of Intellectual Property

A. Inventions and Patents.  Under Connecticut state law, the University owns all inventions created by employees in the performance of employment with the University or created with University resources or funds administered by the University (“University Inventions”). An issued patent is a limited grant from the federal government or a foreign government giving the owner of the patent the right to exclude others from practicing the inventions claimed in the patent.

B. Copyrights.  Copyright protection extends to any original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression.  A copyright owner possesses a series of exclusive rights, including the exclusive right to reproduce the work, prepare derivative works, distribute copies of the work, perform the work (in some cases) and display the work (in some cases). The University does not claim any product of authorship, unless a contract to the contrary modifies this general rule. If a contract grants ownership of the copyrighted work to an industry sponsor or other outside entity, an employee may be required to acknowledge the grant of ownership as a condition of working on such contract.  If a contract grants ownership of the copyrighted work to the University, the work will be considered a “University Copyright.” In addition, the AAUP Collective Bargaining Agreement and other relevant collective bargaining agreements may contain provisions that allocate copyright ownership and other rights between faculty, staff and the University.

C. Trademarks.  A trademark is a word, name, symbol or design that helps consumers identify and distinguish the source of a product from the products of others.  Similarly, a service mark is a word, name, symbol or design used by a person providing services to help the public identify and distinguish the source of the services from the service of others. A trade name is a name used to identify a business. The University owns all rights, title and interest in all  trademarks, service marks, trade names and other brand designations that relate to University Intellectual Property (as defined below) or to any University-related program of education, service, public relations, research or training (“University Trademarks”).  University Trademarks may be used only with the express written permission of the University.  Except as stated in Section 3(C), this Policy does not cover the use or licensing of University Trademarks; a link to the University’s trademark licensing procedures can be found in the “Related Policies” section of this Policy.

D. Trade Secrets.  A trade secret is any formula, pattern, device, method, know how or compilation of information that derives independent economic value from not being known by others, and is the subject of efforts by the owner to maintain its secrecy. The University maintains a number of trade secrets, including but not limited to, unpublished grant proposals, invention disclosures and scientific data for which the University has not applied for patent protection (“University Trade Secrets”). The University will also agree on a limited basis to maintain the trade secrets of its industry partners.

E. University Intellectual Property or UIP.  For the purposes of this Policy, University Inventions, University Copyrights and University Trade Secrets are referred to as “University Intellectual Property” or “UIP.” As noted above, University Trademarks are covered by a separate policy.

2. Commercialization

A. Industry Sponsored Research.  The University is committed to developing industry collaborations and supporting research and development.  The University understands that industry partners have diverse and unique needs, and is committed to providing contract terms and IP rights that meet these needs. Faculty members intending to work with industry partners should contact the OVPR so that different options can be discussed. The University offers many innovative intellectual property ownership models, including granting exclusive and non-exclusive licenses, which provide broad benefits to both industry and the University.

B. Government Sponsored Research.  UIP arising from research funded by the US government or other funding agency will be controlled by the terms of the grant or contract and applicable laws, including the Bayh-Dole Act.  Government-funded UIP will usually be owned by the University, subject to certain rights retained by the government.

C. Student Intellectual Property.  Students will own the intellectual property that they invent, create and develop, including work created for a class, unless the student is (1) working on a University research grant or other sponsored research, (2) working for the University as an employee, or (3) working under a contract that stipulates otherwise. In these cases, the University will own the intellectual property.

D. Disclosure of Inventions.  All faculty, employees (including students who are working for the University) and students (to the extent the student is working under a research grant, sponsored research or other governing contract) must disclose promptly any potentially patentable invention to the OVPR, and execute documents necessary for invention evaluation, patent prosecution or protection of University Patents. The disclosure should be made as soon as a faculty, employee or student becomes aware that their research or work has resulted in a patentable invention. OVPR will provide a preliminary evaluation of the patentable invention to the inventor within three months of disclosure, and will also provide periodic updates to inventor on the development and commercialization of the invention.

E. Determining Ownership and Protecting Intellectual Property.  The OVPR, in consultation with the faculty member, staff, student and industry partner (if applicable), will determine the ownership of all inventions and trade secrets, whether a copyrighted work is a University Copyright, and whether to seek patent or copyright protection for the intellectual property.

3.  Income Derived from Intellectual Property

A.  Inventions.  Under Connecticut state law and the by-laws of the University, the net revenue derived from licensing or income from the assignment or sale of University Inventions will be shared with employee inventors.  Although current state law only requires the University to distribute 20% of the net revenues to inventors, the Board of Trustees has approved the distribution of net revenue as follows: 33.3% to the inventors on the patent, 33.3% to their department and 33.3% to the University. Net revenue is defined as the gross proceeds derived from assigning or licensing the University Invention, less costs and expenses reasonably allocated to the University Invention. In addition, the department’s share is further divided among the dean, the department head and the faculty member. The portion of revenue distributed to the University will be invested in research related activities and patent protection.  If a faculty member, student or staff member is an inventor and leaves the University, he or she will remain entitled to the inventor’s share of the revenue.  In some prior cases, the University has made distributions using different allocations, and may in the future enter into mutually agreed distributions that differ from the above formula.

B. University Copyrights.  Net revenue derived from licensing of University Copyrights is property of the University, and the distribution of such revenue will be determined on a case by case basis, but may be distributed in a similar manner to the distribution for inventions as described above.

C. University Trademarks.  The University generally retains all income derived from licensing of University Trademarks.

4.  Licensing and New Company Formation

A.  Licensing of Intellectual Property.  The OVPR seeks to identify existing businesses that can further develop and commercialize the University Intellectual Property and bring a reasonable financial return to the University. Income derived from OVPR’s licensing activities is governed by Section 3 above.

B.  New Company Formation.  In cases where the faculty inventor may wish to form a new company based on the University Invention (hereinafter a “Faculty Startup or “Startup”), the University will require that the following conditions be satisfied before granting a license to University Intellectual Property to the Startup: (1) the faculty member may be involved with the Startup as a consultant or scientific advisor, but may not take on an operational role that interferes with her or his duties as a faculty member, (2) the Startup must demonstrate willingness and commitment to identify and engage individuals with reasonable and relevant experience to serve as the operating officer of the Startup, and (3) the Startup should develop a business plan and a fundraising plan.  As part of granting the license to the Startup, the Startup will provide consideration to the University, which could include a reasonable equity stake, a reasonable royalty, as well as assuming the costs of intellectual property protection.  Income earned by University from a Startup license or equity ownership is governed by Section 3 above.

C. Additional Considerations for Faculty Affiliated Companies. The following additional considerations apply to Startups:

(1)        A faculty lab may collaborate or subcontract with a Startup only if an appropriate agreement is negotiated with the OVPR.  The contract must contain a scope of work and clearly define responsibilities between the Startup and the faculty lab.  The agreement will be governed by the applicable University policies, including this IP and Commercialization Policy.

(2)        The faculty member may not represent the University in any negotiation or decision involving a Startup.

(3)        The faculty member individually, and the Startup, must maintain practices that ensure that University material, data and intellectual property that are not licensed to the Startup are separated from and not used inappropriately by the Startup.

(4)        The faculty member may not use space in an academic lab, or other University or state resources, including the University’s purchasing authority, for the benefit of a Startup unless (a) prior written approval has been granted by the appropriate department head or dean, and (b) a written agreement is in place with the University authorizing such use and agreeing to reimburse the University for such use.

(5)        A faculty member that works on a Startup must fully comply with the policies on “Consulting for Faculty and Members of the Faculty Bargaining Unit” and “Financial Conflict of Interest in Research” and any other similar or successor policies on the same subject. These policies are designed to ensure that a faculty member’s relationship with a Startup does not create a real or perceived conflict of interest, and that the faculty member and University have agreed on the scope of permissible Startup activities.

(6)        Startups may not compete with the University for research grants that could appropriately be conducted in the faculty member’s lab (i.e., grants for basic research).

D. Employment of Students Working at Startups.  Faculty associated with a Startup may not unduly influence a student to accept employment. The employment of students at a Startup is governed by a separate University policy, namely “Use of Students in Outside Employment.” Under this policy, the faculty member must obtain written approval from the department head or dean prior to employing a student at a Startup, and the student may seek recourse through the Provost to address any grievances that may arise during the term of employment.

The University requires that each student receive a written offer of employment with a specific scope of work or job description, the rate of compensation and the expected hours of work.  In addition, the student should receive a fair market value rate of pay.

E. Licensing Back of University Intellectual Property. If the University does not believe that it can successfully commercialize a University Invention, and if the faculty member is not interested in founding a Startup, the University will offer the inventor a license of the University Invention (such license referred to as a “license back”). In addition, the inventor may request a license back from OVPR at any time. OVPR is not required to grant a license back but will respond to any request within three months.  If the University elects to license back the University Invention to the inventor, the inventor, as licensee, will assume obligations related to patent expenses and commercialization and will agree to pay a portion of the gross revenue that the inventor receives through his or her commercialization efforts. In addition, the inventor will not be entitled to the net revenue payments described in Section 3 of this policy.

5. Dealings with Outside Parties

A. Sponsored Research.  All sponsored research agreements are negotiated and managed by the OVPR. Individual faculty members, departments, centers and other units of the University must work through the OVPR on such agreements.

B. Consulting.   University faculty are encouraged to consult with industry, but must comply with all procedures set forth in “Consulting for Faculty and Members of the Faculty Bargaining Unit.” These policies apply even if the faculty member is consulting for a Startup, including a Startup with which that individual faculty member is affiliated.

Faculty members are required to ensure that the intellectual property provisions of any consulting agreements with industry do not conflict with the faculty member’s obligations to the University.

C. Use of Non-Disclosure Agreements.  Non-public information related to University Intellectual Property should not be disclosed to outside parties unless there is in place a fully executed Non-Disclosure Agreement negotiated by OVPR and approved by University counsel.

D. Tangible Property.  Tangible property, including but not limited to software, devices, designs, models, cell lines, plans, seeds, antibodies, compounds and formulations that are University property, may not be transferred outside of the University unless there is in place a fully executed Material Transfer Agreement negotiated by OVPR and approved by University counsel.

6. Other Considerations

A. Publication.  Inventors should be aware that publication of research data and findings can jeopardize intellectual property rights for the University and the faculty member. When the University enters into industry sponsored research agreements, it will retain the right to publish all research results generated by faculty and students. The University may agree to delay the publication of research results that arise from industry sponsored research for a reasonable period of time to allow the sponsor to review the publication in order to determine if any confidential information should be removed or if a patent application should be filed.

B. Affiliates and Intellectual Property.  In some limited cases, the University has affiliation agreements with other organizations (e.g. hospitals), and these agreements may grant the University additional intellectual property rights. For example, if a student is receiving a stipend from the University through an affiliate organization, the University will assert ownership of intellectual property created by the student.

C. Open Source Software Distribution.  In those instances in which the University has an ownership interest in software, faculty and sponsors of research may request that the University distribute or otherwise make available software pursuant to an open source license.  The faculty member should consult with OVPR to determine if such distribution is in the best interests of the University.

D. Signing of Agreements.   Sponsored Research Agreements, Intellectual Property Licenses, Confidential Disclosure Agreements, Material Transfer Agreements and other related agreements that obligate the University may only be signed by an authorized University signatory. A full list of authorized signatories is set forth in the President’s Resolution Delegating Signing Authority (the website link is provided at end of this Policy).

Deans, Faculty and Department heads are not authorized under the President’s Resolution to sign agreements covered by this Policy.

E. Disagreements Related to Inventions.   The University By-Laws establish procedures to follow in the event of a disagreement related to inventions.

7.  Exceptions to This Policy

Exceptions to this Intellectual Property and Commercialization Policy may be approved by the OVPR, in consultation with the applicable University department, and faculty members, in its sole discretion.  The Office of Clinical and Translation Research may approve changes to clinical trial agreements.

8. Enforcement

Violations of this policy may result in appropriate disciplinary measures in accordance with University Laws and By-Laws, General Rules of Conduct for All University Employees, applicable collective bargaining agreements, and the University of Connecticut Student Code.

9.  Related Policies, Procedures and Board Resolutions

This policy replaces “Policy Regarding Research Collaborations with Industrial Partners and Technology Transfer”

The following are links to related policies, procedures and board resolutions, sorted by campus applicability.

All University Campuses

“Consulting for Faculty and Members of the Faculty Bargaining Unit”

“Consulting by Faculty” website

University Trademark website

Specific to Storrs and Storrs-based Regional Campuses

“Financial Conflicts of Interest in Research”

“Use of Students for External Employment”

Board of Trustees Resolution Delegating Signing Authority

Specific to UConn Health

Contract Signing Authority

Data Ownership

Individual Financial Conflict of Interest in Research 

 

If any of the above policies are amended or new relevant policies adopted, these amended or new policies will apply as of their effective date.

 

Adopted by the University of Connecticut Board of Trustees on September 30, 2015 and effective as of September 30, 2015.

Minimum Effort on Sponsored Program Activities

Title: Minimum Effort on Sponsored Program Activities
Policy Owner: Office of the Vice President for Research, Sponsored Program Services
Applies to: Faculty and key personnel on sponsored proposals and awards
Campus Applicability: All campuses except UConn Health
Effective Date: July 7, 2015
For More Information, Contact Office of the Vice President for Research, Sponsored Program Services
Contact Information: (860) 486-3619
Official Website: http://research.uconn.edu/

 

REASON FOR POLICY

Effective January 5, 2001 by Presidential Review Directive and clarification memo issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to 2 CFR Part 220 (as codified from Circular A-21) and most recently OMB Uniform Guidance 2 CFR Part 200, it is expected that “most Federally-funded research programs should have some level of committed faculty (or senior researchers) effort, paid or unpaid by the Federal government. This effort can be provided at any time within the fiscal year (summer months, academic year, or both).” The clarification memo also states that, “…Some types of research programs…do not require committed faculty effort, paid or unpaid by the Federal government…

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Grants Policy Statement asserts that “‘zero percent’ effort or ‘as needed effort’ is not an acceptable level of involvement for ‘key personnel.’

The National Science Foundation revised its policy effective January 18, 2011 stating that except when required in an NSF solicitation, inclusion of voluntary committed effort cost sharing is prohibited.

APPLIES TO

This policy applies to all Principal Investigators, Co- Principal Investigators, and Co-investigators on Federal sponsored program proposals or awards at the Storrs campus and regional campuses.

DEFINITIONS

University Effort: The portion of ‘total professional effort’ that comprises one’s professional/professorial workload at UConn for which the employee is compensated.  This includes research, instruction, other sponsored activities, administration, non-sponsored/departmental research, university service, competitive proposal preparation and clinical activities.

Committed Effort: Any part of ‘University effort’ that is quantified and included in a sponsored program proposal and the subsequent award (e.g., two summer months, 12% time, one half of a year, three person-months, etc.).  This quantified effort/time is associated with a specific dollar amount of the employee’s compensation.

Associated effort and funding to support this devoted effort/time can be in the form of:

Direct Charged Effort:  Any portion of ‘committed effort’ toward a sponsored activity for which the sponsor pays salary/benefits.

Cost Shared Effort:  Any portion of ‘committed effort’ toward a sponsored activity for which the sponsor does not pay salary/benefits, which instead are paid using other, non-federal, UConn sources.

Uncommitted Effort: Any portion of ‘University effort’ devoted to a sponsored activity that is above the amount committed in the proposal and the subsequent award.  This ‘extra’ effort is neither pledged explicitly in the proposal, progress report or any other communication to the sponsor nor included in the award documentation as a formal commitment.

POLICY STATEMENT

This policy establishes the minimum effort requirements as those which are specified by the funding source (federal or non-federal), regulation, and the specific required minimum levels directed by the sponsor in the notice of application or solicitation.

Federal Sponsored Awards:

Faculty are expected to propose some level of sponsor supported effort or the minimum required by the program on proposals on which they are listed as Principal Investigator, Co-Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator unless specifically exempted by the sponsor.  (Examples of exceptions to the minimum proposed effort requirement would possibly include doctoral dissertations, equipment and instrumentation grants, travel grants, and conference awards.)  If an award is accepted, these personnel are committed to providing this level of effort over the annual budget period of the award unless sponsor policies permit otherwise.

The minimum amount of effort committed to a specific federally sponsored research activity may be no less than 1% of the employee’s ‘University effort.’  Beyond this minimum, the specific amount of effort committed to a particular sponsored activity is left to the judgment of the Principal Investigator/Project Director, based on his or her estimate of the effort necessary to meet the technical goals and outcomes of the project

Non-Federal Sponsored Awards: 

The University does not require a minimum amount of effort except in cases required by the sponsor.

ENFORCEMENT

Violations of this policy may result in appropriate disciplinary measures in accordance with University Laws and By-Laws, General Rules of Conduct for All University Employees, applicable collective bargaining agreements, and the University of Connecticut Student Conduct Code.

PROCEDURES/FORMS

Related Information:

See NSF Cost Sharing Policy Guidance

POLICY HISTORY

Policy created:  3/1/2013

Revised:           7/7/2015 (approved by the Vice President for Research) 

Personal Services Fringe Rate Calculation for Grants/Research

Title: Personal Services Fringe Rate Calculation for Grants/Research
Policy Owner: Robin Hoagland
Applies to: Faculty, staff and designated University affiliates
Campus Applicability: Storrs and Regional Campuses
Effective Date: December 26, 2014
For More Information, Contact Robin Hoagland
Contact Information: (860) 486-3780
Official Website: http://accountingoffice.uconn.edu/

 

REASON FOR POLICY

To ensure that the University is in compliance with the cost principles and accounting standards set forth by the federal government.

APPLIES TO

This policy applies to faculty, staff and designated affiliates of the University of Connecticut, Storrs and Regional Campuses.

DEFINITIONS

Personal Services Fringe Rates are calculated to cover the cost of employer-paid contributions for retirement, health care, life insurance and other fringe benefits on grants.  The rates vary because the calculation is based on a percentage of salaries for different categories of personnel.

OMB Uniform Guidance – publication of the Office of Management and Budget titled “Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards.”

Governmental Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) – standards and rules administered by the federal Government for use in achieving uniformity and consistency under federal contracts.

POLICY STATEMENT

The Office of Cost Analysis (OCA), a unit within the University’s Accounting Office, is responsible for calculating personal services fringe rates that are charged to research grants in accordance with OMB Uniform Guidance and the Government Cost Accounting Standards (CAS).  Federal grants may not be charged personal services fringe rates unless approved by the Department of Health and Human Services, our cognizant federal agency. University departments charging personal services to grants must use the approved fringe rates.

PROCEDURES/FORMS

The rates are calculated by the OCA based on current financial information and then adjusted annually in the future rates, based on actual costs.

For more information on OMB Uniform Guidance, please see

http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants_docs

Policy on Alleged Misconduct in Research

Title: Policy on Alleged Misconduct in Research
Policy Owner: Office of Vice President for Research
Applies to: Faculty, Staff, Students, Others
Campus Applicability:  All Campuses
Effective Date: 9/15/2017
For More Information, Contact Michelle K. Williams
Contact Information: (860) 486-3001
Official Website: http://research.uconn.edu

 

It is the expectation and policy of the University of Connecticut, including its Regional Campuses and the University of Connecticut Health Center (the “University”), that the design, conduct, oversight and reporting of research be carried out with the highest standards of integrity and ethical behavior. While the primary responsibility for integrity and ethical behavior in research rests with those who conduct it, the University strives to establish an environment that promotes the responsible conduct of research, encourages reporting of any research related concerns, and addresses promptly and effectively any allegations of research misconduct.

This policy sets forth a process for determining whether research misconduct has occurred and taking appropriate action.  The following are the key components: (1) responsibilities and time lines (2) the handling of an allegation, including the initial inquiry and if necessary, the full investigation, (3) the final report and the imposition of University Actions if research misconduct is found, and (5) the respondent’s right to appeal.

Definitions

Allegation – means a disclosure of possible research misconduct through any means of communication, including written or oral statements.

Complainant(s) – The Complainant(s) is a person who in good faith makes an allegation of research misconduct.

Conflict of Interest – A conflict of interest as applied to this policy exists when a member of the Inquiry Committee or the Special Review Board has a collaborative professional, personal or financial relationship with a Respondent(s), Complainant(s), potential witnesses or others involved in the matter which might influence the member or might reasonably be perceived to influence the member. Membership in the same academic department as a Respondent(s) or Complainant(s) may, but does not necessarily constitute a conflict of interest.

Evidence – means any document, tangible item, or testimony offered or obtained during a research misconduct proceeding that tends to prove or disprove the existence of an alleged fact.

Good Faith –as applied to a Complainant(s) or witness, means having a belief in the truth of one’s allegation or testimony that a reasonable person in the Complainant(s)’s or witness’ position could have, based on the information known to the Complainant(s) or witness at the time. Making a research misconduct allegation or cooperating with a research misconduct proceeding is not in good faith if one knowingly or recklessly disregards information that would negate the research misconduct or testimony.

As applied to a committee member, good faith means cooperating with the research misconduct proceeding by carrying out the duties assigned impartially for the purpose of helping the University meet its responsibilities. A committee member does not act in good faith if his/her acts or omissions on the committee are dishonest or influenced by personal, professional, or financial conflicts of interest with those involved in the research misconduct proceeding.

Inquiry – means a preliminary information gathering and preliminary fact-finding activity conducted by the Inquiry Committee as described in this policy.

Inquiry Committee—means the committee that conducts the Inquiry.

Investigation – means the formal development of a factual record and the examination of that record leading to either a decision not to make a finding of research misconduct or a recommendation for a finding of research misconduct, which may include a recommendation for other appropriate actions, including administrative actions.

Person – means any individual, corporation, partnership, institution, association, unit of government, or legal entity, however organized.

Preponderance of the Evidence – means proof by information that, compared with that opposing it, leads to the conclusion that the fact at issue is more probably true than not.

Report – means the report summarizing the findings and conclusions prepared by the Inquiry Committee or Special Review Board.

Research – means a systematic experiment, study, evaluation, demonstration or survey designed to develop or contribute to general knowledge (basic research) or specific knowledge (applied research) relating broadly to public health by establishing, discovering, developing, elucidating or confirming information about, or the underlying mechanism relating to, biological causes, functions or effects, diseases, treatments, or related matters to be studied.

Research record – means the record of data or results that embody the facts resulting from scientific inquiry, including but not limited to, research proposals, laboratory records, both physical and electronic, progress reports, abstracts, theses, oral presentations, internal reports, journal articles, and any documents and materials provided to federal oversight agencies or an institutional official by a Respondent(s) in the course of the research misconduct proceeding. The research record could include instrumentation that stores research records.

Research Misconduct – means fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results.

  1. Fabrication is making up data or results and recording or reporting them.
  2. Falsification is manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record.
  3. Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit. Authorship disputes are not defined as plagiarism in this policy.

Research misconduct does not include honest errors or differences of opinion.

Research Misconduct Proceeding – means any actions related to alleged research misconduct taken by the University, including but not limited to, research misconduct assessments, inquiries, investigations, federal agency oversight reviews, hearings, and administrative appeals.

Respondent(s) – means the person against whom an allegation of research misconduct is directed or who is the subject of a research misconduct proceeding.

Retaliation – for the purpose of this policy means an adverse action taken against a Complainant(s), witness, or committee member by the University, or anyone associated with the research misconduct proceedings, in response to:

  1. A good faith allegation of research misconduct; or,
  2. Good faith cooperation with a research misconduct proceeding.

Special Review Board or SRB – means the board that conducts the Investigation.

VPR – means the University’s Vice President for Research or the successor in function.

Time Limitations

Unless otherwise required by law, this Policy applies only to research misconduct occurring within six years prior to the date that the University receives an allegation of research misconduct.

The six year limitation does not apply if: (1) the Respondent continues or renews any incident of alleged research misconduct that occurred before the six-year limitation by citing, republishing or otherwise using the Research Record that is alleged to have been fabricated, falsified, or plagiarized, or (2) if a federal agency with appropriate jurisdiction or the University, determines that the alleged misconduct, if it occurred, would possibly have a substantial adverse effect on the health or safety of the public.

Jurisdictional Authority

This policy applies to any research, research training, or activities related to research, such as the operation of tissue and data banks and the dissemination of research information proposed, performed, reviewed, or reported, or any research record generated from that research, regardless of source of financial support, which is conducted using the facilities, resources, or funds of the University.  The policy also applies to the actions of faculty, staff, contractors, students or trainees who are employed, contracted, enrolled, working or performing research activities at the University at the time the alleged research misconduct occurred.

This policy does not apply to alleged research misconduct performed by persons who are not faculty, employees or contractors of the University, or are not students or trainees working at the University, when the alleged research misconduct occurred.  This policy is limited to addressing research misconduct as defined in the policy and no other types of misconduct or non-compliance.  When the allegation of research misconduct relates to activities funded by the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS), the University applies the requirements of the PHS regulations at 42 C.F.R. Part 93 and this policy is intended to meet those requirements.  When the allegation of research misconduct relates to activities funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) the University applies the requirements of the NSF at 45 C.F.R. 689 and this policy is intended to meet those requirements.  When the allegation of research misconducts relates to activities funded by other agencies or sponsors, the University applies the requirements of those agencies or sponsors and the policy is intended to meet those requirements.  When the allegation of research misconduct relates to activities that are not otherwise funded or supported, or where there are no agency or sponsor specific requirements the University will apply the requirements of this policy. Where required, this policy may be modified to the extent necessary to conform to the requirements of PHS, NSF and other funding agencies or sponsors. Where there is a discrepancy between this Policy and either applicable laws or regulations or the requirements of the funding agency or sponsor, the law/regulation or agency/sponsor requirement will take precedence unless it is less restrictive.

Responsibilities

Faculty, Staff, Students and Trainees – University faculty, staff, students and trainees must conduct research in accordance with the highest standards of integrity and ethical behavior of their profession. University faculty, staff, students and trainees must report instances of suspected research misconduct, as defined in this Policy.  All faculty, staff, students and trainees must cooperate fully with the administration and implementation of this Policy.

Research Integrity Officer (RIO) – The RIO has primary responsibility and authority for implementation of the procedures set forth in this policy. The RIO will be an institutional official who is well qualified to handle the procedural requirements involved and is sensitive to the varied demands made on those who conduct research, those who are accused of misconduct, and those who report apparent misconduct in good faith.  The RIO serves as the principal contact point for interactions with Complainant(s), Respondent(s), witnesses, University officials, and federal agencies or sponsors.  It is the RIO’s responsibility to keep University officials informed, as required by policy or on a need-to-know basis, of the status of research misconduct proceedings.  The RIO serves as executive secretary (non-voting) of the Inquiry Committee and SRB.  The RIO is designated by the VPR and may be a single University wide RIO or a separate RIO for each campus.

The RIO will assist the Inquiry Committee, SRB and all institutional personnel in complying with these procedures and with applicable standards imposed by government or external funding sources. The RIO is also responsible for maintaining all research records and evidence in accordance with applicable policies and regulations.

The RIO will report to federal agencies, funding agencies and or other external entities as required by regulation to keep them apprised of any developments during the inquiry or investigation that may affect current or potential funding for the individual(s) under investigation or that the government agency needs to know to ensure appropriate use of public funds or otherwise protect the public interest.

Inquiry Committee It is the Inquiry Committee’s responsibility to conduct the inquiry into allegations of research misconduct in accordance with this policy, and to recommend to the VPR whether an investigation of research misconduct is warranted.

The Inquiry Committee will consist of the RIO and a minimum of three faculty members appointed by the VPR.  The chair of the Inquiry Committee will be one of the three faculty members. The VPR may appoint other individuals to serve as either voting or non-voting members of the Inquiry Committee. A majority of the committee participants will be faculty.  The Inquiry Committee may be appointed as a standing committee or on an as needed basis at the discretion of the VPR.  For a standing committee terms the VPR will appoint members for a set term of no more than five years, which may be staggered and with reappointment possible after a one year rotation off the committee.  The VPR will make legal counsel available to the Inquiry Committee as necessary, which may include appointing counsel (internal or outside counsel) to assist in the conduct of the Inquiry.

Special Review Board (SRB) – The SRB conducts an investigation in accordance with this policy in response to a recommendation by the Inquiry Committee. The purpose of the investigation is to recommend to the VPR whether the Respondent has committed research misconduct.

The SRB will be appointed by the VPR upon receipt of a recommendation for investigation from the Inquiry Committee. The SRB will consist of the RIO and a minimum of senior faculty members.  The chair of the SRB will be one of the three faculty members.  Some or all of the members of the Inquiry Committee may be included on the SRB. Every attempt will be made to appoint the SRB in a manner that will guarantee that the SRB has the requisite scientific expertise needed to conduct an investigation. In the event that it is necessary, individuals with appropriate scientific expertise from institutions other than the University may be added as voting members to the membership of the SRB. The VPR may appoint other individuals, as s/he feels necessary to serve as voting or non-voting members of the Inquiry Committee.  A majority of the committee participants will be faculty of the University. The VPR will make legal counsel available to the SRB as necessary, which may include appointing counsel (internal or outside counsel) to assist in the conduct of the Investigation.

Vice President for Research (VPR) – The VPR is the responsible institutional official of the University under whose jurisdiction this policy is implemented and enforced, and is the final arbiter for issues related to research misconduct adjudicated under this Policy.  In the event the VPR is not able to fulfill the requirements of this Policy, the President of the University will appoint a replacement.

Protection of the Complainant(s) and the Respondent(s)

Complainant(s) – The University will protect from retaliation all employees and students who have made an allegation of research misconduct (see the University’s Non-Retaliation Policy at http://policy.uconn.edu/2011/05/24/non-retaliation-policy ).

Respondent(s) – It is the policy of the University that until research misconduct inquiries or investigations are completed, Respondent(s) are considered innocent of the research misconduct allegations made against them, and protected against arbitrary and capricious actions that might be taken against them by deans, department heads or supervisors. This protection, however, will not prevent the University from exercising its duty under this Policy to sequester evidence or to conduct research misconduct inquiries or investigations, nor the ability to take interim administrative measures as described in this Policy.

Confidentiality

Disclosure of the identity of respondents and complainants in research misconduct proceedings is limited to those who need to know, consistent with a thorough, competent, objective and fair research misconduct proceeding as allowed by law. The University may have to disclose the identity of respondents and complainants to federal officials under certain circumstances.

Except as otherwise provided by law, confidentiality must be maintained for any records or evidence from which research subjects might be identified. Disclosure in this circumstance is limited to those who have a need to know to carry out a research misconduct proceeding.

Handling an Allegation of research misconduct

All reports and concerns related to actual or potential research misconduct, regardless of who receives the report, should be promptly referred to the RIO.  After receiving an allegation of research misconduct the RIO will assess the allegation(s) to determine if it meets the definition of research misconduct and is sufficiently credible and specific so that the allegations can be effectively investigated.

Review with Complainant:  Unless the allegation is anonymous, the RIO will:

  1. Review the substance and nature of the research misconduct with the Complainant(s)
  2. Inform the Complainant(s) that once specific details such as names are discussed with the RIO, the research misconduct review process must be invoked and cannot be suspended or stopped until the process has been concluded.
  3. Inform the Complainant(s) that the report may be submitted anonymously. The Complainant(s) will also be advised that confidentiality cannot be guaranteed, and that the their identity may be revealed on a need-to-know basis, may be inferred during the inquiry or investigation or may be required to be disclosed to a federal oversight agency or under applicable laws;
  4. Notify the Complainant(s) that, if the report has not been made in written form, it will be put in writing by the RIO. The Complainant(s) will be asked to provide as much detail as possible regarding the research misconduct and offered an opportunity to review the written allegation of research misconduct.
  5. Notify the Complainant(s) that he/she will not participate in the fact-finding phase, or in any other aspect of the determination of misconduct, other than as a witness.
  6. Notify the Complainant(s) of the expectation that the Complainant will keep confidential the allegation of misconduct.

Review with Respondent:  The RIO may discuss the allegation of research misconduct with the Respondent(s) and other individuals as needed to determine if the issues that form the basis of the research misconduct are appropriate for consideration through the research misconduct process.

Referral to Other University Entities:  The RIO will refer the issue to other appropriate entities within the University such as the Office of Audit, Compliance and Ethics, law enforcement, institutional review board, and institutional animal care and use committee, as the RIO believes appropriate, or as required by policy or regulation.

Review with VPR:  The RIO will confer with the VPR or their designee to review the substance of the allegation of research misconduct and determine if an inquiry is warranted.

Findings that Allegations Were Not Made in Good Faith:  If at any point it is determined that an allegation of research misconduct was not made in Good Faith this finding will be conveyed in writing to the Provost and the VPR, and made part of the Inquiry or Investigative report as applicable.  The Provost, in consultation with the VPR, the Dean of the appropriate School, and Office of Faculty and Staff Labor Relations and taken in a manner consistent with the relevant collective bargaining agreement, will determine what will  be taken by the University in response to a finding that allegations were not made in good faith.

Conduct of an Inquiry

The purpose of an inquiry is to conduct an initial review of evidence to determine whether an allegation of research misconduct warrants investigation. An inquiry does not require a full review of all the evidence related to the allegation of research misconduct.  An inquiry is warranted if the RIO determines that:

  1. A reasonable basis for concluding that the allegation falls within the definition of research misconduct and
  2. The allegation is sufficiently credible and specific so that potential evidence of research misconduct can be effectively evaluated.

Appointment of Inquiry Committee:  The VPR will appoint an Inquiry Committee.  Any member of the committee who believes he/she may have a conflict of interest or the appearance of one must declare such. Any member of the committee may identify other committee member(s) as having a conflict of interest.  The VPR will review any declared or identified potential conflicts of interest and make the determination regarding the member’s participation on the committee.

The Complainant(s) and Respondent(s) will be provided with a roster of the Inquiry Committee’s membership, and given the opportunity to identify committee member(s) as having a conflict of interest.  The VPR will review any identified potential conflicts of interest and make the determination regarding the member’s participation on the committee.

In the event a member becomes unable or unwilling at any point to serve, the VPR may appoint a replacement member.

Notification of Respondent:  The RIO will make a reasonable effort to notify all identified Respondent(s) that a research misconduct inquiry has been initiated and describe the nature of the allegation of research misconduct. The correspondence will include a copy of the allegation and a copy of this policy. Notification that an inquiry has been initiated will be sent to the VPR, the Respondent(s) Dean and Department Head, and the Office of Audit Compliance & Ethics.

Securing Evidence:  At the research misconduct inquiry stage or on or before the date on which the Respondent(s) is notified the inquiry begins the RIO, along with other staff as needed (e.g., Information Technology Department, Facilities, law enforcement, etc.) must take all reasonable and practical steps to obtain custody of all records and evidence needed to conduct the research misconduct proceeding, inventory the records and evidence, and sequester them in a secure manner.  Where the research records or evidence encompass scientific instruments shared by a number of users, custody may be limited to copies of the data or evidence on such instruments, so long as those copies are substantially equivalent to the evidentiary value of the instruments.

The RIO has the authority to sequester evidence and records in accordance with university policy.  The RIO will seek the cooperation of the Respondent(s) in identifying and sequestering records and evidence.

Where appropriate and if requested, the Respondent(s) will be provided copies of, or reasonable supervised access to the sequestered research records.

The authority to sequester evidence by the RIO shall extend through the entirety of the research misconduct proceedings.  Additional items will be sequestered whenever they become known or relevant to the inquiry or investigation. The sequestered research record and evidence shall be maintained as required by applicable policies and regulation.

In the event that a Respondent(s) has not been identified, but a decision to initiate an inquiry has been made as described above, the RIO has the authority to sequester research records as described, but only after conferring with the director of that unit, and providing the director with a copy of the research misconduct allegations.

Conduct of Inquiry:  The Inquiry Committee will conduct the inquiry by an objective analysis of all the evidence including interviews with individuals with information relevant to the inquiry. The Complainant(s), if known, will be offered the opportunity to be interviewed by the Inquiry Committee.

Respondent Interview:  The Respondent(s) will be interviewed by the Inquiry Committee and the Respondent will be provided an opportunity to provide written questions regarding the research misconduct, if desired. The Respondent(s) has the right to be represented at his/her own expense by legal counsel and/or to be accompanied by a union representative if the respondent is covered by a collective bargaining agreement.  Counsel and/or the union representative will serve in a role consistent with an investigatory interview, but may not materially disrupt the process.

Respondent’s Failure to Cooperate:  In the event the Respondent(s) refuses to cooperate with the inquiry, the Inquiry Committee will, after reasonable attempts to engage the Respondent(s)’s cooperation, continue the inquiry without testimony or other evidence from the Respondent(s).

Additional Respondents:  Should additional Respondent(s) be identified at any time during the research misconduct Proceeding, they will be notified as described in this Policy and may be included as part of an ongoing inquiry or investigation, or as Respondent(s) in a new process as determined by the RIO in consultation with the VPR.

Timeline for the Inquiry:  The inquiry’s start date is the date that the Inquiry Committee meets to review the allegation of research misconduct and plan the inquiry. The inquiry should be completed within 60 calendar days after the start date unless circumstances warrant a longer period.  If the inquiry takes longer than 60 days to complete, the RIO will inform the VPR and the Respondent of the basis for the extension and the inquiry report will document the reasons for exceeding 60 days.

Determination Concerning Inquiry:  At the completion of the inquiry the Inquiry Committee shall determine whether the allegation of research misconduct warrants or does not warrant an investigation.

An investigation is warranted if the Inquiry Committees determines by a majority vote of the appointed voting members that there is a reasonable basis for concluding the allegation falls within the definition of research misconduct, involves biomedical or behavioral research, research training or activities related to that research or research training, and the preliminary information gathering and preliminary fact finding from the inquiry indicates the allegation may have substance.

The Committee will prepare a draft report that includes:

  1. The name and position of the Respondent(s);
  2. Copies of the notification of inquiry to the Respondent(s);
  3. A description of the allegation(s) of research misconduct;
  4. Sources of research support including, for example, grant numbers, grant applications, contracts, and publications listing the agency’s support;
  5. A summary of the evidence reviewed and interviews conducted;
  6. The conclusion of the inquiry and the basis for recommending that the allegation of research misconduct warrants or does not warrant an investigation.

A copy of the draft report will be provided to the Complainant(s) and Respondent(s).  The Complainant(s) and Respondent(s) will have 14 calendar days to provide written comment on the findings of the inquiry. The time to provide comments may be extended at the discretion of the RIO  Any written comments shall be reviewed by the Inquiry Committee in order to evaluate whether any substantively new information has been provided that should be considered before the Inquiry Committee makes a final decision on a recommendation. The comments will be included as part of the final report.

A copy of the final report will be provided to the VPR, the Respondent(s), and the Complainant(s).

If the Inquiry Committee does not find an investigation is warranted, the University shall make reasonable and practical efforts effort to protect or restore the position and reputation of the Respondent(s), Complainant(s), witnesses and committee members and to counter potential or actual retaliation against them. If the Respondent so requests, the conclusions of the inquiry will be made public.  Once this is completed, the research misconduct proceeding will be closed.

Agency Notification:  If the Inquiry Committee finds an investigation is warranted, the RIO will provide agencies having a statutory right of notification, a final copy of the inquiry report.  The agencies will be provided the inquiry report within 30 days of the Inquiry Committee submitting the final report to the VPR, but before initiating the investigation.  Upon request, the RIO will provide to agencies having statutory right of notification, copies of the research records and evidence reviewed.

Early Termination of research misconduct Proceedings – Admission of research misconduct

If at any point, other than a finding that an Inquiry or Investigation is not warranted, University plans to terminate a Research Misconduct Proceeding before its completion on the basis that the Respondent(s) has admitted to committing research misconduct, a settlement with the Respondent(s) has been reached, or for any other reason, the RIO will promptly notify the VPR and the applicable federal agency of the University’s plan, and seek approval of the plan from the agency.

If the Respondent(s) admits to committing research misconduct, appropriate University Actions as described in this Policy will be applied.

Conduct of an Investigation

The purpose of an investigation is (i) to determine whether research misconduct did or did not occur for each separate identified allegation, (ii) if misconduct was found, to identify the misconduct as falsification, fabrication or plagiarism (iii) to determine whether it was intentional, knowing or in reckless disregard, (iv) to identify the person(s) responsible for the misconduct and (v) to summarize the facts and the analysis supporting the conclusions. An investigation will be initiated within 30 days of the Inquiry Committee’s determination that an investigation is warranted.

Appointment of SRB:  The VPR will appoint a Special Review Board or SRB.

Any member of the SRB who believes he/she may have a conflict of interest or the appearance of one must declare such. Any member of the committee may identify other SRB member(s) as having a conflict of interest.  The VPR will review any declared or identified potential conflicts of interest and make the determination regarding the member’s participation on the SRB.

The Complainant(s) and Respondent(s) will be provided with a roster of the SRB membership, and given the opportunity to identify committee member(s) as having a conflict of interest.  The VPR will review any identified potential conflicts of interest and make the determination regarding the member’s participation on the SRB.

In the event a member becomes unable or unwilling at any point to serve, the VPR may appoint a replacement member.

Notification of Investigation:  The RIO will notify the Complainant(s) and Respondent(s) in writing that an investigation will be initiated, and of the composition of the SRB.  The notification to the Respondent(s) will also include any new allegations of research misconduct that may have been raised during the course of the inquiry or any allegations that may have been dropped from the inquiry.

Timeline for the Investigation:  The date of initiation of the investigation will be the first date the SRB meets to review the allegations of research misconduct and plan its investigation.  The investigation, including any appeals, should be completed within 120 calendar days of its initiation. If circumstances prevent the SRB from completing the investigation within 120 days, the RIO will submit a written request for an extension of time to complete the investigation to the VPR and any applicable oversight agency.

Conduct of the Investigation:  The SRB will use diligent efforts to ensure that the investigation is thorough, sufficiently documented, and includes examination of all research records and evidence relevant to reaching a decision on the merits of the allegations.  The SRB will evaluate the report of the Inquiry Committee and examine the evidence and research records relevant to the allegation of research misconduct.  The SRB and/or counsel for the SRB will interview each Respondent(s), Complainant(s), and any other available witness (es) reasonably identified as having information regarding relevant aspects of the investigation, including witnesses identified by the Respondent(s).  Interviews will be recorded or transcribed and provided to the interviewee for correction. The SRB will diligently pursue all substantive issues and discovered leads that are determined relevant to the investigation, including any evidence of additional instances of possible research misconduct, and continue the investigation to completion.

Respondent’s Rights:  During the investigation the Respondent(s) has the right to:

  1. Be interviewed by the SRB;
  2. Be represented at his/her own expense by legal counsel and/or be accompanied by a union representative. Counsel and the union representative will serve in a role consistent with an investigatory interview, but will not materially disrupt the process.
  3. Expect the SRB to exercise reasonable perseverance in obtaining answers to written questions raised by the Respondent(s) and directed to the Complainant(s) or to those witnesses who provide testimony to the SRB;
  4. To identify witnesses;
  5. Review a copy of the transcript of the Respondent(s)’s testimony for accuracy;
  6. Review and comment upon a draft of the SRB’s report before the report is finalized and before the SRB makes a final decision on its findings

Evidentiary Standards:  A finding of research misconduct requires that a majority of the appointed voting members of the SRB determine, by a preponderance of the evidence that (1) the Respondent significantly departed from accepted practices of the relevant research community, and (2) the misconduct was committed intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly.

The University or applicable federal agency has the burden of proof for making a finding of research misconduct. The destruction, absence of, or Respondent(s)’s failure to provide research records adequately documenting the questioned research is evidence of research misconduct where the University establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that the Respondent(s) intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly had research records and destroyed them, had the opportunity to maintain the records but did not do so, or maintained the records and failed to produce them in a timely manner and that the Respondent(s)’s conduct with regard to such records constitutes a significant departure from accepted practices of the relevant research community.

The Respondent(s) has the burden of going forward with and the burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, any and all affirmative defenses raised. In determining whether the University has carried the burden of proof imposed by this part, the Committee shall give due consideration to admissible, credible evidence of honest error or difference of opinion presented by the Respondent.

The Respondent(s) has the burden of going forward with and proving by a preponderance of the evidence any mitigating factors that are relevant to a decision to impose administrative actions following a research misconduct proceeding.

Preparation of a Draft Report and Preliminary Findings:  Upon the completion of the Investigation, the SRB will prepare a written draft report of the investigation containing its preliminary findings. The draft Report will include:

  1. A description of the nature of the allegation(s) of research misconduct;
  2. The research project’s funding support, including, for example, any grant numbers, grant applications, contracts, and publications listing support;
  3. A description of the specific allegations of research misconduct considered in the Investigation.
  4. Copies of the University policies and procedures under which the Investigation was conducted;
  5. An identification and summary of the research records and evidence reviewed, and identification of any evidence taken into custody but not reviewed;
  6. For each separate allegation of research misconduct identified during the Investigation, a preliminary finding as to whether research misconduct did or did not occur, and if so:
    1. Identify whether the research misconduct was falsification, fabrication, or plagiarism, and if it was intentional, knowing, or in reckless disregard;
    2. Summarize the facts and the analysis which support the preliminary conclusion and consider the merits of any reasonable explanation by the respondent;;
    3. Identify the specific funding support;
    4. Identify whether any publications need correction or retraction;
    5. Identify the person(s) responsible for the research misconduct;
    6. List any current support or known applications or proposals for support that the Respondent(s) has pending with all extramural agencies.

The draft report will be provided to the Complainant(s) and Respondent(s) for comment.  The comments of the Respondent(s) and Complainant(s) on the draft report, if any, must be submitted within 30 days of their receipt of the draft report.  If requested, the Respondent(s) will be provided another opportunity to be heard by the SRB in person and to provide any additional information, or call additional witnesses to provide new information that may have a bearing on the SRB’s preliminary findings. The SRB will take into consideration any additional written information or information provided by witnesses.

Final Report and Final Findings:  If written comments on the draft report are received, the SRB will consider the comments. The SRB will then make its final decision and prepare a final report of the investigation. In addition to the elements of the draft report, the final report will include any written comments provided by Respondent or Complainant, a transcript or recording of the final hearing with the SRB (if any), and any new information provided by the Respondent(s) or Complainant.

Within twenty (20) business days of receipt of the SRB’s final report, the VPR shall inform the SRB of a decision to accept the report, or return it to the SRB for additional consideration. In the latter case, a decision not to accept the report will be accompanied by an explanation as to why the report was not accepted. The SRB will consider the VPR’s explanation, and resubmit the final report. The VPR will then make a final decision on whether the Respondent committed research misconduct.

If the VPR determines that the Respondent(s) did not commit research misconduct, the University shall make reasonable and practical efforts effort to protect or restore the position and reputation of the Respondent(s), Complainant(s), witnesses and committee members and to counter potential or actual retaliation against them.

If the VPR determines that the Respondent(s) committed research misconduct, the VPR will proceed in accordance with “University Actions in Response to a Final Finding of Research Misconduct” below.   If the research in question involved human subjects, the VPR will notify the Institutional Review Board. If the research in question involved animal subjects, the VPR will notify the Institutional Animal Care Committee.

Notifications:  After the VPR makes a final decision, the RIO shall send the final Report to the Respondent(s), the VPR, the Respondent(s)’s Dean and Department Head, the AVPRC, the President of the University of Connecticut, the Office of Audit, Compliance & Ethics, and applicable federal and/or state agencies.

Interim Protective Actions

At any time during the research misconduct proceedings the VPR may take appropriate interim actions to protect public health, federal funds and equipment, and the integrity of the research process.  Necessary actions will vary according to the circumstances of each case and may include but are not limited to delaying the publication of research results or submission of funding proposals, requiring supervision of one or more researchers, requiring approvals for actions relating to the research that did not previously require approval, auditing pertinent records, or contacting other institutions that may be affected by the allegation of research misconduct.

The relevant University Officials and federal agencies will be immediately notified if there is reason to believe any of the following conditions exist at any time during the research misconduct proceedings:

  1. Health or safety of the public is at risk, including an immediate need to protect human or animal subjects;
  2. Federal resources or interests are threatened;
  3. Research activities should be suspended;
  4. There is reasonable indication of possible violations of civil or criminal law;
  5. Federal action is required to protect the interests of those  involved  in  the  research misconduct Proceeding;
  6. The University believes the research misconduct proceeding may be made public prematurely so that the federal government may take appropriate steps to safeguard evidence and protect the rights of those involved;
  7. The research community or public should be informed.

University Actions in Response to a Final Finding of Research Misconduct

If the VPR determines that the Respondent committed research misconduct, the matter will be referred to the relevant supervisor who will review the report with the Office of Faculty and Staff Labor Relations.  Any action that is imposed by the University will comply with the procedures set forth in the University By-Laws or other applicable polices and any applicable collective bargaining agreement, including any right to appeal such actions.   Actions that may be imposed include but are not limited to:

  • Notification to professional and/or scientific societies
  • Clarification, correction, or retraction of the research record
  • Education or training
  • Reassignment of duties
  • Restrictions of specific activities or expenditures
  • Oversight or supervision of research activities
  • Special review of research activities
  • Termination or restriction of research support
  • Termination of fellowship support
  • Adjustment of research space allocation or resources
  • Adjustment of salary
  • Letter of warning or reprimand
  • Suspension
  • Dismissal

The University will cooperate with and assist in carrying out any administrative actions imposed by a relevant federal agency as a result of a final finding of research misconduct by that agency.

Retention and Custody of Records of the Research Misconduct Process

All records of the research misconduct process and any institutional appeals will be kept secure by the RIO according to the State of Connecticut Records Retention Schedule or seven (7) years, whichever is longer. If required by federal regulation, documentation of the SRB’s investigation will be made available to the appropriate federal oversight office.

Cooperation with Federal Agencies

The University will cooperate with any federal agency with appropriate jurisdiction during its oversight reviews of the University and its research misconduct proceedings, and during the process under which the Respondent may contest the federal agency’s finding of research misconduct and proposed administrative actions.  This includes providing, as necessary to develop a complete record of relevant evidence, research records, and other evidence under the University’s control or custody, or in the possession of, or accessible to persons subject to University authority.

The University will report to any federal agency with appropriate jurisdiction any proposed settlements, admissions of research misconduct, or institutional findings of misconduct that arise at any stage of a misconduct proceeding.

Promulgation of the Policy for Review of Alleged Misconduct of Research

This Policy will be made available via the University website.

(Signed)
_________________
Radenka Maric, Ph.D.
Vice President for Research

Policy History

Revised 9/15/2017 [Approved by President’s Cabinet]

 

Working Alone Policy

Title: Working Alone Policy
Policy Owner: Division of Environmental Health and Safety
Applies to: University Students
Campus Applicability: Storrs, Regionals, Law School
Effective Date: January 2013
For More Information, Contact Environmental Health and Safety
Contact Information: (860) 486-3613
Official Website: http://www.ehs.uconn.edu/

POLICY STATEMENT

No student is permitted to Work Alone in an Immediately Hazardous Environment.

REASON FOR POLICY

This policy has been developed to minimize the risk of serious injury while Working Alone with materials, equipment or in areas that could result in serious injury or an immediate life-threatening hazard.

APPLIES TO

This policy applies to undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral students performing academic or research related work at the University of Connecticut Storrs, regional campuses and the Law School.

DEFINITIONS

Working Alone means an isolated student working with an immediately hazardous material, equipment or in an area that, if safety procedures fail, could reasonably result in incapacitation and serious life threatening injury for which immediate first aide assistance is not available.

Immediately Hazardous Environment describes any material, activity or circumstance that could cause instantaneous incapacitation rendering an individual unable to seek assistance.  Examples include but are not limited to: potential exposure to poisonous chemicals and gases at a level approaching the IDLH (Immediately Dangerous to Life & Health); work with pyrophoric and explosive chemicals; work with pressurized chemical systems; entering confined spaces; work near high voltage equipment; work with power equipment that could pinch or grab body parts and/or clothing; etc.

Unit Managers are managers, supervisors, principle investigators, faculty, Department Heads and others who are responsible for assigning work to students that involve potential exposure to immediately hazardous environments.

Safety Content Expert is a safety professional from the UConn Department of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS).  EHS provides guidance to Unit Managers and their designees regarding the proper classification of campus activities as Immediately Hazardous or not; and provides safety information regarding proper procedures and personal protective equipment needed.

Direct Observation means the assigned second person is in line of sight or close hearing range with the individual working in an Immediately Hazardous Environment.

ENFORCEMENT

Violations of this policy may result in appropriate disciplinary measures in accordance with University Laws and Bylaws, General Rules of Conduct for All University Employees, applicable collective bargaining agreements and the University of Connecticut Student Conduct Code.

RESPONSIBILITIES

Unit Managers are responsible for identifying the risks and conditions that may place a student in an Immediately Hazardous Environment.  If unsure about a specific task or location, Unit Managers are advised to contact EHS to assist in recognizing/evaluating risks, and to help in developing appropriate hazard controls. The Unit Manager is also responsible to see that personnel are properly trained, proper procedures are in place, and that proper personal protective equipment is readily available and use is mandatory. This is documented by means of the Workplace Hazard Assessment form.

If the task/area is deemed a Working Alone situation, the Unit Manager must either:

a) Assign a second person for the duration of the immediately hazardous task or for work in immediately hazardous locations (confined spaces, elevated work area, etc.); or

b) Reschedule the work to a time when others are available to help monitor the welfare of the assigned student.

All personnel are responsible for notifying the Unit Managers of situations that present the possibility of a student Working Alone in an immediately hazardous environment.

Personnel assigned to keep watch must provide Direct Observation at all times while students are in an Immediately Hazardous Environment to prevent a Working Alone situation.

Students are directly responsible for adhering to all safety procedures, wearing appropriate personal protective equipment and to be current in training requirements.  Students shall not Work Alone in an area or on tasks that have been recognized as an Immediately Hazardous Environment.

Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) personnel shall, upon request, assist in identifying Immediately Hazardous Environments and Working Alone situations.  EHS shall assist in the anticipation, recognition and evaluation of hazards and provide expertise in developing controls to prevent injuries to personnel.  EHS will verify submitted area Workplace Hazard Assessment during routine inspections.

Recommended Safety Information Resources

Refer to the EH&S website for additional workplace safety requirements:

Policies, programs and procedures

Training

Forms

Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Approval

Title: Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Approval
Policy Owner: Office of the Vice President for Research
Applies to: Faculty, Researchers
Campus Applicability:  All Campuses
Effective Date: March 28, 2012
For More Information, Contact Stem Cell Office
Contact Information: (860) 486-1725
Official Website: http://uconncgs.uchc.edu/stemcell_institute/

PURPOSE:

To ensure that proposals for human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research and selected types of human induced pluripotent stem cell research are approved by the Institution’s Stem Cell Research Oversight (SCRO) Committee.

The University of Connecticut established an Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee (ESCRO) Committee in 2006.  Its name was changed to the Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee  (SCRO) in December 2009 to reflect the expansion of its mandate to other types of pluripotent cells.

The role of the University of Connecticut’s Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee (SCRO) is to ensure that human stem cell research is well-justified and that inappropriate and unethical research is not conducted.  Its mandate is to provide oversight of ethical issues related to the derivation and research use of human pluripotent stem cell lines at all schools, colleges, campuses, and research arms of the University of Connecticut.

From a legal perspective, the review and approval of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research by a SCRO committee or its equivalent is required by the State of Connecticut.  SCRO review and approval of hESC research and some types of other pluripotent stem cell research is also required by the University of Connecticut’s institutional policy.  SCRO oversight facilitates the collaboration between researchers across institutions by adopting what are becoming nationally and internationally accepted standards and protects the reputation of the University of Connecticut for its conduct of ethical and responsible research.

DEFINITIONS:

Human Embryonic Stem Cells (hESC)

Human embryonic stem cells are pluripotent cells that are self-replicating, derived from human embryos, and are capable of developing into cells and tissues of the three primary germ layers.  Although human embryonic stem cells may be derived from embryos, such stem cells are not themselves embryos.

Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSC)

Human induced stem cells are a type of pluripotent stem cell that has been artificially created by reprogramming non-pluripotent human cells through techniques that do not involve oocytes or embryos, e.g. through inserting genes into a somatic cell.

SCOPE of SCRO OVERSIGHT

All research projects in the following categories are required to obtain SCRO approval before acquiring cells or cell lines and commencing research:

  • All stem cell research involving  human embryonic stem cells; pluripotent cells, and their derivatives;
  • All stem cell research projects funded by the State of Connecticut; including those that do not use human embryonic stem cells;
  • All stem cell research involving human gametes and human embryos;
  • in vitro human induced pluripotent stem cell research  involving the generation of gametes, embryos, or other types of totipotent cells;
  • in vivo human induced pluripotent stem cell research involving implantation of human cells  into prenatal animals or into the central nervous system of post-natal animals.

Review by the SCRO Committee supplements but does not replace the usual reviews for compliance with federal, state, and local regulations (e.g. reviews by animal care committees, Institutional Review Boards, Biological Safety Committees, etc.).

The Human Stem Cell Application Form must be completed and submitted to the SCRO Committee.  The application, amendment, and annual renewal forms are available from the SCRO website (link) http://scro.uconn.edu/forms.html

Stem Cell Office contact:  Dana Howard 860-486-1725 or Dana.Howard@uconn.edu

Training Grants – Health Benefits for Fellows

Title: Training Grants – Health Benefits for Fellows
Policy Owner: The Graduate School
Applies to: Faculty, Staff, Students, Others
Campus Applicability:
Effective Date: September 1, 2003
For More Information, Contact Martha Marroni
Contact Information: (860) 486-0983
Official Website: http://grad.uconn.edu/

Effective September 2003, the University of Connecticut will offer health and dental insurance to fellows on federal training grants.  This insurance will be the same as that offered to graduate assistants.  Faculty must include this cost in their training grant budget.  The training grant will pay the amount covered by the university for graduate assistants and the fellows will be responsible to pay a portion of the premium.

Principal Investigator Eligibility

Title: Principal Investigator Eligibility
Policy Owner: Office of the Vice President for Research, Sponsored Program Services
Applies to: Applies to all faculty, staff, students and others participating in sponsored program activities
Campus Applicability: All campuses except for UConn Health
Effective Date: June 22, 2015
For More Information, Contact Offices of the Vice President for Research and Sponsored Program Services
Contact Information: (860) 486-3622
Official Website: http://research.uconn.edu/

 

REASON FOR POLICY

This Policy is intended to set forth the eligibility requirements for serving as a Principal Investigator (PI) at UConn.  This Policy also describes the processes for requesting and approving exceptions to the PI eligibility requirements.

DEFINITIONS

Principal Investigator (PI): This title identifies the individual responsible for the conduct of the sponsored program project. This responsibility includes the intellectual conduct of the project, fiscal accountability, administrative aspects, and the project’s adherence to relevant policies and regulations.  A project may have multiple individuals as PIs who share the authority and responsibility for leading and directing the project, intellectually and logistically.  Each PI is responsible and accountable for the proper conduct of the project.

Co-Principal Investigator: This designation refers to individuals who share the responsibility for the project with the Principal Investigator and therefore requires the same qualifications.

Project Director: Although not as commonly used by sponsors, this title is a synonym for Principal Investigator.

POLICY STATEMENT

All externally funded projects conducted at the University of Connecticut are expected to be consistent with the teaching, research, and service missions of the University.  All projects are therefore carried out within departments, centers or institutes, or other administrative units under the direction of a faculty member or comparable professional employee.

By limiting Principal Investigator/Project Director status to a limited set of designated individuals and/or job categories, and by procuring appropriate dean and department head approval, the University is assured that the proposed research is consistent with its missions and that the necessary space, equipment, facilities and qualified personnel are available to conduct the proposed project.  In all cases, the individual designated as Principal Investigator/Project Director is judged to be qualified to conduct an independent research or other educational project.

Faculty members automatically eligible to serve as Principal Investigators/Project Directors include members of the emeritus faculty and those faculty members who hold the following titles:

University Professor
Associate Professor
Assistant Professor
Research Professor
Associate Research Professor
Assistant Research Professor
Professor-in-Residence
Associate Professor-in-Residence
Assistant Professor-in-Residence
Research Scientist
Research Scholar
Extension Educator

Professional staff normally eligible to serve as Principal Investigator:

Professional staff members normally eligible to serve as Principal Investigators/Project Directors include staff who hold titles typically associated with independent activity, whose appointment is subject to a rigorous review of credentials, and who have supervisor approval (i.e., signature on the proposal routing sheet), such as:

Dean
Associate Dean
Assistant Dean
Director
Associate Director
Assistant Director
Extension Professor
Associate Extension Professor
Assistant Extension Professor
Curator
Program Director

Categories of employment normally considered ineligible to serve as Principal Investigator/Project Director:

Instructor
Assistant Instructor
Lecturer
Post-doctoral appointees
Research associates
Assistants and fellows
And visiting and other short-term appointees

Exceptions

In special cases, exceptions may be made. These special cases require the Request for Approval to Serve as Principal Investigator form be completed by the PI Applicant, signed by the PI Applicant, Faculty Sponsor, Department Head and/or Dean and submitted to SPS for review prior to proposal submission.  In the case of a denial by OVPR SPS, appeals may be directed to the Associate Vice President for Research, Sponsored Program Services.

PROCEDURES/FORMS

Please see OVPR SPS form: Request for Approval to Serve as Principal Investigator.

ENFORCEMENT

Violations of this policy may result in appropriate disciplinary measures in accordance with University Laws and By-Laws, General Rules of Conduct for All University Employees, applicable collective bargaining agreements, and the University of Connecticut Student Code.

POLICY HISTORY

Policy created:           6/5/2009

Revised:                    6/22/2015 (approved by the Vice President for Research)                  

 

 

Pre-Award/Advance Account Policy

Title: Pre-Award/Advance Account Policy
Policy Owner: Office of the Vice President for Research, Sponsored Program Services
Applies to: Faculty and staff conducting sponsored program activity at Storrs and the regional campuses
Campus Applicability:  All campuses except UConn Health
Effective Date: July 7, 2015
For More Information, Contact Office of the Vice President for Research, Sponsored Program Services
Contact Information: (860) 486-3622
Official Website: http://research.uconn.edu/

 

REASON FOR POLICY

To enable Principal Investigators (PI) who have demonstrated a need to begin project-related activity on sponsored projects prior to receipt of the award notice or executed contract.

APPLIES TO

Faculty and staff conducting sponsored program activity at Storrs and the regional campuses.

DEFINITIONS

Pre-Award Account:  A pre-award account will be used for federal grants where costs are allowed up to 90 days prior to the official start date of the award under expanded authorities granted to the University.

Advance Account:  Advance accounts will be established for those federal and non-federal awards not eligible for pre-award coding.  Costs can only be incurred on advance accounts as of the sponsor approved start date.

POLICY STATEMENT

The Office of the Vice President for Research, Sponsored Program Services (OVPR SPS) will establish Pre-Award or Advance Accounts under the following conditions:

There is a demonstrated need by the PI to incur expenditures prior to the proposed start date (pre-award accounts) or prior to receipt of the executed contract (advance accounts).  Acceptable reasons for requesting an account include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Making employment offers and completing payroll authorizations
  • Equipping a lab or purchasing supplies
  • Purchasing equipment early to take advantage of a discounted price

Accounts also require that:

  • A full copy of the proposal for the project is on file in OVPR SPS
  • OVPR SPS personnel are able to determine that pre-award expenditures are allowed, or in the case of advance accounts, it is likely that an award is forthcoming or contract will be executed
  • When applicable, required compliance approvals have been obtained

This policy does not apply to Federal earmark funding.

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Principal Investigators are responsible for submission of pre-award or advance account requests that are consistent with this policy and in accordance with our published procedures.

OVPR SPS is responsible for responding to inquiries about this policy or procedures and approving account request.

ENFORCEMENT

Violations of this policy may result in appropriate disciplinary measures in accordance with University Laws and By-Laws, General Rules of Conduct for All University Employees, applicable collective bargaining agreements, and the University of Connecticut Student Code.

PROCEDURES/FORMS

See OVPR SPS website for Pre-Award or Advance Request Form.

POLICY HISTORY

Policy created:    2/19/2008

Revised:             7/7/2015 (Approved by the Vice President for Research)