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Responsible Conduct of Research

Responsible Department
Grants & Contracts Administration
Effective Date
  1. .

    Policy Purpose

    The purpose of this policy is to ensure the education of externally funded Investigators and Trainees at University of North Georgia (UNG) in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) in order to prevent research misconduct and uphold the highest ethical and legal standards in research and scholarly activity. This policy also serves to ensure that applicable personnel who receive funding from sponsors imposing RCR requirements receive formal RCR instruction in compliance with agency policy.

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    1. External funding: An award, typically in the form of a grant, contract, or agreement, made to the University by an outside entity to carry out research or project activities led by an Investigator employed by the University.

    2. Investigator: An individual, regardless of title or position, who is responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of a project funded by or proposed for funding by an external agency, which may include, for example, Principal Investigators (PIs), Senior Personnel, collaborators or consultants.

    3. Principal Investigator: The project director or lead investigator who is the programmatic point-of-contact on a project and is the primary person responsible for the design, conduct, and/or reporting of sponsored activities undertaken by the University, funded or proposed for funding by an external sponsor, agency, or organization.

    4. Research: A systematic investigation, study, or experiment designed to develop or contribute to general knowledge relating broadly to any discipline of scholarly endeavor. This term encompasses basic and applied research and product development. As used in this Policy, “Research” includes any such activity for which funding is sought, available, or offered from external sources.

    5. Research Misconduct: Fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results. Fabrication is making up data or results and recording or reporting them.

    6. Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR): The practice of scientific investigation with integrity. [RCR] involves the awareness and application of established professional norms and ethical principles in the performance of all activities related to research.

    7. Trainee: Postdoctoral researchers or students undergoing training as part of an externally funded project or research activity.

    8. University Research Community: Any person paid by, under the control of, or affiliated with the University or any individual at the University engaged in scientific and scholarly Research, including but not limited to, faculty, scientists, fellows, guest researchers, visiting faculty or staff, graduate students, trainees, technicians, support staff, and other faculty or staff members, undergraduate students employed in Research, faculty or staff on sabbatical leave, adjunct faculty when performing University work, and faculty or staff on leave without pay.
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    Policy Statement

    1. All members of the University Research Community must adhere to the highest ethical and professional standards as they pursue research and scholarly activities. In doing so, the University requires the vigilance of all members engaged in research and scholarly endeavors to comply with the legal, regulatory, and ethical requirements established by the University, regulatory agencies, funding sources and professional organizations.

    2. The Principal Investigator (PI) and Grants and Contracts Administration must cooperatively ensure that the University remains in compliance with RCR training.  The training can be taken online or face-to-face. The PI of record of any award funded by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and the U. S. Department of Agriculture must be aware of the RCR training requirements and advise any undergraduate students, graduate students, or post-doctoral researchers of this requirement during the initial stage of employment.

    3. The PI must foster and maintain integrity and ethics in research by assuring oversight and supervision of students and other research personnel. The PI is responsible for informing students engaged in research activities of the RCR requirements and directing them to institutional resources designed to satisfy the requirements.

    4. It is understood that RCR can be taught and learned in many ways, and that principles can vary from discipline to discipline. For this reason, the University plan for RCR instruction must provide flexibility in its content and delivery methods in such a way that it addresses the specific needs, issues, and concerns of various target audiences among numerous disciplines. The applicability criteria contained within this Policy may expand to cover other groups of researchers and sponsors in the future.
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    Support Information

    The RCR Policy implements federal requirements published in NOT-OD-10-019 pertaining to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), sections 2, 3, and 8 of 2 CFR Part 422 pertaining to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), as well as National Science Foundation (NSF) Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide Grantee Standards for Responsible Conduct of Research (NSF PAPPG Part II, Chapter IX.B.).

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    Operating procedure implementation and oversight is the responsibility of Grants and Contracts Administration, a division of the Office of Research and Engagement. Procedures must comply with and reference this Policy.

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    Review and Responsiblity

    The department responsible for oversight of this policy is Grants and Contracts Administration. The executive officer responsible is the Associate Provost for Research and Engagement and Chief Research Officer. This policy will be reviewed as needed in conjunction with federal and state regulation changes as well as in regard to institutional needs.

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