Rights and Responsibilities in the Conduct of Research

A. Purpose

This policy establishes guidelines for practices related to research, including faculty's rights and responsibilities to students, staff and sponsors.

B. Revision history

Originally issued: March 2000

C. Persons affected

All Northwestern Health Sciences University faculty engaged in research activities.

D. Related research policy documents

Academic Freedom

Code of Ethical Behavior

Financial Conflict of Interest in Research

Effort Certification

Fiscal Responsibilities of Principal Investigators

Misconduct in Science

Secrecy in Research

E. Policy

Rights of faculty members

To carry out Northwestern Health Sciences University's research mission effectively, faculty are guaranteed the following:

  • Academic Freedom in the pursuit and support of research as defined by the University's policy;
  • The right to disseminate the results and findings of your research without suppression or modification from external sponsors beyond those provisions explicitly stated in the policy on Secrecy in Research ; and
  • The right to engage in external consulting activities, subject to the University's limitations.

Responsibilities of faculty to staff and students

Faculty members must be aware of their obligations to staff and students working as part of the research team. It is particularly important that, at least annually, each faculty member should review intellectual and tangible property rights and responsibilities (for management of data in all media, for proper authorship attribution, etc.) with all members of the group under his or her direction, including staff, students, and visiting faculty. Each member has the right to know who is sponsoring the research.

On an individual level, the best interests of each staff member and student should be of particular concern. The University is committed to demonstrating support and appreciation for its staff. To that end, faculty members are encouraged to provide staff development opportunities and, if possible, a mentor relationship for those in their group.

Health and Safety

Each faculty member is responsible for training members of his or her team in appropriate health and safety procedures for that particular research area, and for management of those procedures in his or her laboratory or other workplace. Principal investigators are also responsible to assure the periodic inspection of clinic facilities, and to cooperate in any inspections by external agencies.

Consulting by Faculty Members

Please recall that on an exception basis, faculty members may be permitted to engage in outside consulting activities under conditions outlined in the policy on Outside Consulting Activities by Faculty Members (under development).

Responsibilities to sponsors

Fiscal Obligations

Although the legal agreement funding a sponsored project is between the sponsor and Northwestern Health Sciences University, the overall responsibility for management of a sponsored project within funding limitations rests with the principal investigator. Funds must be expended within the restrictions of the contract or grant, and if any overdraft should occur, it is the responsibility of the principal investigator to clear the overdraft by transferring charges to an appropriate account.

Equipment Control

Principal Investigators are responsible for securing necessary approvals for the purchase of the equipment, and for proper tagging, inventory, and storage or disposal of equipment. Principal Investigators are also responsible for complying with the terms of funding agencies regarding equipment purchases.

Proposal Preparation

The cost of proposal preparation activities in support of new directions in research may not be charged to sponsored projects. The Vice President and Provost must ensure that non-sponsored project funds are available to offset the portion of investigator and staff salaries from sponsored projects for effort spent preparing proposals to support new directions in research. The cost of proposal preparation efforts for continuing research is appropriately charged to current projects.

Certification of Effort Charged to Sponsored Projects

Northwestern Health Sciences University is required by the Federal Government to document effort charged to sponsored projects. It is the responsibility of the Vice President and Provost to see that a system is in place to ensure that faculty and other personnel fulfill the requirement for review and certification of salaries and wages, and to assure that salaries and wages charged to sponsored projects correspond to effort expended on those projects.

Technical and Invention Reports

Sponsor-required reports must be submitted to Research Services on a timely basis. If you send the report directly to your project monitor, please send a copy to Research Services at the same time so that contract and grant files may be complete.

Other responsibilities

Conflict of Interest

The key to Northwestern Health Sciences University's policy pertaining to Conflict of Interest in Research is the trust in the integrity of the individual faculty member to disclose any situation that could lead to real or apparent conflict of interest. University policy requires an annual certification of compliance and disclosure of potentially conflicting relationships. In addition, situations which arise during the year in which outside obligations have the potential for conflict with the faculty member's allegiance and responsibility to the University require a prompt ad hoc disclosure.

Research Protocols

Faculty members also need to ensure that approved research protocols for the use of human subjects in research are obtained and followed.

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