Compliance and Training
Summary and Quick links
Research involving human subjects, animals, recombinant DNA/pathogens, biohazardous materials
Responsible conduct of research
Conflict of interest and commitment
Current SOM requirements for the disclosure of external financial interests
Clinical study-specific documentation
Faculty consulting agreements - criteria for School of Medicine review
Publication of clinical trials to web sites
Record retention and disposition
Terms and conditions of your award
Federal acts, circulars, and regulations pertaining to grants and contracts
NIH public access policy: School of Medicine site/Health Sciences Library site
EHS home page /
Institutional Biosafety Committee
Animal Care and Use Committee
Institutional Review Boards
Other required training
SOM overview of safety issues associated with research areas (a "best practices" document)
Human subjects research. The University has two Institutional Review Boards (IRBs). The IRB for the Social and Behavioral Sciences (IRB-SBS) reviews and oversees non-medical, behavioral research studies. The IRB for Health Sciences Research (IRB-HSR) oversees all other studies involving human subjects, representing the majority of human use protocols performed by the School of Medicine. Investigators who are new to clinical research or who wish to perform unfamiliar studies should contact the IRB-HSR prior to submitting a protocol. The Clinical Trials Office can facilitate the conduct of clinical studies by assisting with budget and proposal preparation, study coordination and management, and regulatory functions such as quality assurance/quality control.
Animals in research. The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) reviews and oversees the use of animals in research and teaching at the University. The IACUC provides training in handling research animals, insures that individuals using research animals participate in the occupational health and safety program, and conducts inspections of animal use facilities. The IACUC has specific protocol submission deadlines. The Center for Comparative Medicine operates UVA vivaria and provides veterinary support. Current per diem rates are listed on the CCM web site.
Recombinant DNA and pathogens. The Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) oversees the use of recombinant DNA, organisms requiring at least Biosafety Level 2 conditions, and of human specimens. The IBC also inspects laboratories that have registered for one or more of these activities.
Biohazardous materials (bloodborne pathogens, radiation, hazardous chemicals, shipping biological materials, etc.). The Office of Environmental Health and Safety maintains comprehensive programs for the management of potential hazards that may be encountered during research activities. Their web site includes current health and safety policies and information on ordering radioactive materials. Click here for UVA training requirements, programs, and on-line training.
Responsible conduct of research (RCR). UVA expects the highest standards of teaching, research, and public service from its faculty and staff. Biomedical research requires both personal integrity and public trust to continue to flourish. UVA investigators should: openly exchange their findings via scientific publications; provide unique research materials to qualified academic investigators; maintain detailed records of research procedures and results; fairly assign authorship or acknowledgment in research publications to the originators of ideas, methods, and findings. These areas are of special concern for investigators:
- Authorship. Refer to SOM, JAMA ("Authorship Criteria and Contributions") and International Committee of Medical Journal Editors policies on authorship. Recommended best practices:
- Initiate discussions concerning authorship when first planning a project: agree on authors and individuals to be acknowledged, including the order of authors and each author’s responsibility on the project and in preparing resulting manuscript(s).
- Since authors assume responsibility for the integrity of the entire publication, each author should read and approve the final manuscript and agree to take public or legal responsibility for its content.
- SOM Authorship policy prohibits the use of ghost authors on scholarly publications and prohibits faculty from serving as ghost authors on other authors' publications.
- Conflict of Interest. Refer to the section below.
- Financial sources/billing for clinical research activities. Costs of investigational procedures or subject visits on clinical studies should not be borne by patients or third party payers, unless allowed by policy. Similarly, public funds (e.g., external awards, University facilities/staff) may not be used to support industry-funded studies without prior institutional approval. The Clinical Trials Office can help investigators and clinical study personnel determine which charges to insurers are allowable.
- Data integrity. Investigators should establish an analytic plan and agree on methodologies (e.g., laboratory SOPs, exclusion of outlier data) at the start of their project. Once the data are collected, verified, and locked, any changes in analytic methodology should be reported as post hoc and exploratory.
- Plagiarism. Funding agencies and journals routinely compare submitted proposals and manuscripts to libraries of prior proposals or publications. Submissions considered similar or identical to previously-published documents are being rejected and their authors are at risk for corrective actions under applicable regulations. For further guidance, consult "Guidelines for Avoiding Plagiarism, Self-Plagiarism, and Questionable Writing Practices" (DHHS Office of Research Integrity).
- Images. Steer clear of inappropriate computer manipulation of images when preparing them for publication or presentations. See Rossner and Yamada, J. Cell Biol, 2004, 166:11-15. Consider developing a simple policy for your research group along these lines (adapted from the Southwest Environmental Health Science Center):
- Scientific content may not be knowingly altered in any image.
- Limited enhancements are permitted for clarity, aesthetic reasons, or to eliminate physical artifacts.
- Any manipulations must be described in resulting publications and presentations.
- Training in RCR. Graduate students in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Programs (BIMS) and individuals supported by NIH training grants or career development awards are required to be trained in RCR, by completing BIMS 7100, “Research Ethics.” Additional sources on RCR:
- “On Being a Scientist: Responsible Conduct in Research” (National Academy Press; free download)
- DHHS Office of Research Integrity materials:
- “ORI Introduction to the Responsible Conduct of Research” (Office of Research Integrity, DHHS)
- Educational resources (select "RCR Resources")
- "The Lab: Avoiding Research Misconduct" (video simulation allowing users to assume the role of a graduate student, postdoc, research administrator, or PI and make decisions that affect the integrity of research)
- NIH "Update on the Requirement for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research," providing recommendations on RCR training required for NIH training, career development awards, research education grants, and dissertation research grants.
Reporting misconduct. If you suspect misconduct in research, UVA policy requires that you report it to the Vice President for Research. Informal discussions with the Research Integrity Officer (RIO, Dr. David Hudson; 924-3606) may help clarify whether the suspected behavior meets the definition of research misconduct. If it does, the RIO will refer you to other officials with responsibility for resolving the problem. It is difficult to report misconduct by a superior or supervisor; however, the Research Misconduct Policy states that individuals who report allegations of misconduct or of inadequate institutional response thereto must be protected in terms of the terms and conditions of their employment or other status at the University of Virginia and requires that UVA protect the privacy of those who report misconduct in good faith, to the maximum extent possible.
Conflict of interest (COI). COI regulations govern situations in which financial considerations may compromise an individual’s conduct or reporting of research, or his/her procurement decisions on behalf of the University. This section specifically refers to conflicts of interest that relate to research activities. Federal regulations and UVA policies recognize that faculty may have financial interests in corporate sponsors or in entities whose business interests relate to their research. For example, the Commonwealth of Virginia defines “significant financial interest” as ownership/liability of 3% of company assets or property used by a company; or income/salary/other compensation totaling $10,000 annually. Public Health Service (PHS) Objectivity in Research Policy has lower thresholds for the definition of significant financial interests: combined income/equity >$5,000, any ownership interest in a non-publicly traded company, travel reimbursed or sponsored by an external entity other than academic institutions or government agencies. The PHS policy requires that institutions assess relatedness of signficant financial interests to PHS-funded research in deciding whether they constitute financial conflicts of interest.
The UVA COI policy is not meant to discourage ownership, consulting, or other external activities. Rather, if a financial conflict exists, the University is required to eliminate, reduce, or manage the conflict. When a contract with UVA is involved (e.g., NIH SBIR subcontract or procurement from a faculty-owned company), the UVA Conflicts of Interest Committee will review and, if recommended by the committee, the president will sign a waiver of COI to satisfy the Virginia COI statute. See the UVA FAQs on conflict of interest for more information.
The waiver request process is initiated by the individual disclosing the financial interest to his/her Chair and Dean's Office for review using a request for waiver of COI, which describes the financial interest and proposes a management plan (if appropriate). Dr. Steven Wasserman is available to advise on the process. The waiver request is reviewed by the COI Committee, which recommends acceptance, rejection, or modification of the proposed management plan. Such a plan might include data review to ensure unbiased analysis and interpretation, appointment of an ombudsman to protect the educational and professional goals of trainees, requiring the conflicted individual to disclose their financial interest in all resulting publications, etc.
COI and human subjects research. The School of Medicine has deemed that participation in human subjects research by individuals with significant financial interests warrants substantial scrutiny. The School maintains the "rebuttable presumption" that an individual with a significant financial interest (defined as annual income >$10,000 or ownership interest >3%) may not participate in human subjects research, unless approved by the institution. Only under tightly controlled circumstances may this presumption be rebutted, after review by the UVA COI Committee but prior to approval of the protocol by the IRB. Refer also to DHHS Office for Human Research Protections guidance document on financial COI in human subjects research and AAMC/AAU recommendations on financial conflicts of interest in human subjects research. In addition, the IRB must be notified immediately if a financial conflict arises during the course of a research protocol.
Training on conflict of interest. The Public Health Service Policy, "Promoting Objectivity in Research," requires that all Investigators on PHS awards (defined as "the project director or principal investigator and any other person, regardless of title or position, who is responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of research funded by the PHS, or proposed for such funding, which may include, for example, collaborators or consultants") must complete training in COI before expending any funds on such awards. UVA uses the CITI COI training module to satisfy this requirement. We have posted instructions for creating an account and logging onto the CITI site. Investigators must be re-trained no less than every four years to remain in compliance with the PHS policy.
Additional resources on conflict of interest:
- SOM policy on conflict of interest and conflict of commitment
- SOM on-line site for reporting external financial interests
- Paper disclosure of external financial interests (for non-UVA investigators only)
- CITI conflict of interest training module (for PHS-supported Investigators - see definition above)
- Instructions for creating an account and logging onto the CITI COI training site
- Current SOM requirements for disclosure of external financial interests
- SOM contacts for COI: Steven S. Wasserman, Assistant Dean for Research; Stewart Craig, Assistant Dean for Research Administration.
- NIH tutorial on conflict of interest
- FASEB site for resources to help academic investigators and administrators understand and manage conflicts of interest due to industry relations.
Confidentiality. Investigators gain access to confidential or privileged information from many sources: review of proposals and manuscripts; human subjects research involving personal identifiers; consulting agreements with industry; personnel records of research staff; etc. UVA employees must maintain the highest level of confidentiality in all aspects of their research. All School of Medicine employees are required to complete training on HIPAA privacy, which governs protected health information.
Occasionally, you may be asked to sign a Confidential Disclosure Agreement (CDA) prior to being given access to such information. If you are performing these activities in conjunction with your position at UVA, forward the proposed agreement to the Office of Grants and Contracts for review prior to signing.
The University requires that corporate sponsors of research contracts publish their clinical trials on a public site such as ClinicalTrials.gov. U.S. Public Law 110-85 states that the sponsor of an IND/IDE or PI must register all trials of drugs and biologics subject to FDA regulation (other than Phase 1) and trials of devices (except for small feasibility and pediatric postmarket surveillance). Study results also must be posted. NIH requires that new trials be registered no later than 21 days after the first patient is enrolled. The Clinical Trials Office can assist with posting a study on ClinicalTrials.gov. Finally, the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors requires that all Phase 1 clinical trials published in their journals must be registered at a public site.
The School of Medicine has developed a guidance document describing the State retention and destruction policies for commonly encountered documents. The Virginia Public Records Management Manual provides information on records management, disaster planning, electronic records, etc. Please refer to the UVA records management site (Caroline Walters, Records Officer) and the School of Medicine policy on records management. Storage of documents containing information protected under HIPAA or FERPA in unsecured areas is not permitted. Secure areas include locked file cabinets, locked rooms with restricted access, or HIPAA- and FERPA-compliant storage facilities such as the Library of Virginia State Records Center. Electronic records must be protected with a similar level of restricted access. See UVA policy IRM-015, governing the electronic storage of highly sensitive data.
Grant & contract records. NIH Grants Policy Statement requires that documents associated with research awards be retained for at least three years after the annual (for SNAP awards, the final) financial report has been filed. Other sponsors may have different requirements. The Commonwealth of Virginia requires retention of at least five years after grant closeout, or in accordance with grant/contract stipulations - whichever is longer. See the SOM guidance document or contact Caroline Walters, UVA Records Officer, for clarification on specific research records.
Research data. This includes maintaining complete and accurate records for data analysis and other records relating to the conduct of the project, such as the documents on financial management and the development of intellectual property under the project. The following are critical to the responsible conduct of research:
- Ownership. All forms of data resulting from University sponsored projects or substantial use of University resources are the property of the University. Investigators who leave UVA may transfer the data to another institution, if approved by the Vice President for Research.
- Collection. Data may be collected electronically, manually, by recorded interview, etc. The original record and subsequent transcriptions of those data must be accurate and reliable. Your research group should agree upon data recording and transcription standards. Such Standard Operating Procedures (detailed instructions permitting uniformity in performing specific procedures) can help maintain consistency across members of a research group. Collection and transcription of clinical research records are governed by Good Clinical Practice (see http://www.fda.gov/downloads/regulatoryinformation/guidances/UCM129515.pdf).
- Security. Data records should be backed up, with a copy stored off-site. Protection of data also requires the establishment of rules for authorized access to clinical data and ensuring that such data are used only as approved by the IRB. UVA policy IRM-015 defines the conditions under one may electronically store highly sensitive data, including PHI.
- Sharing. Investigators must balance the reasons not to share (i.e., protecting intellectual property rights, priority in publication, or the privacy of research subjects) with the benefits of sharing data (to foster collaborative research, allow replication of experiments, or satisfy funding agency requirements). It is generally agreed that prior to publication, investigators are not required to share proprietary materials. After publication, unless constrained contractually, investigators should share research materials with their colleagues at other institutions. Certain journals require that authors share the materials described in their publications with members of the scientific community, for noncommercial purposes. This can be effected via a Material Transfer Agreement.
- Retention. UVA data must be retained to confirm research findings, establish priority of inventorship, for investigation of research misconduct, and (for clinical trials) for use in the FDA licensure process. The UVA Laboratory Notebook and Recordkeeping Policy states that raw data must be retained for at least five years after publication or termination of research support, whichever comes first, unless otherwise required by contract, law, or regulation. Don't underestimate the benefits of retaining data: the gene sequence of pandemic Spanish influenza depended on preserved lung tissue stored at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology since 1918.
Clinical study-specific documentation. FDA regulations require that clinical study documents be retained until at least 2 years after the last approval of a marketing application if there are no pending or contemplated marketing applications, or at least 2 years have elapsed since clinical development of the product was discontinued. Again, regulatory requirements or contractual agreements with the sponsor may extend this requirement. Also note that federal HIPAA regulations require that consent forms be retained for 6 years after the end of the clinical study.
- award amount and payment methods and schedule
- budget and project period
- responsible personnel (e.g., PI and agency project officer)
- scope of work
- scientific, financial, and other reporting requirements
- mechanisms for effecting post-award modifications
- ownership and management of intellectual property
- publication rights
- confidentiality requirements
The specific terms and conditions vary among sponsors and award types. The NIH Notice of Award (NOA) also references agency regulations, the Code of Federal Regulations, or the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). The NOA may also place restrictions on your award: for example, if your project will move into human or animal studies during the second project year, you will be restricted from undertaking such activities until IRB/IACUC approval has been forwarded to NIH. Projects involving the use of select agents will be restricted until the PI has registered with CDC or USDA.
The Principal Investigator is responsible for reviewing and understanding the requirements of his or her award. Refer any questions to your research administrator or the Office of Grants and Contracts.
Federal acts, circulars, and regulations pertaining to grants and contracts. The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR; searchable version) is comprised of general and permanent rules established by the Executive branch of the Federal Government. The CFR titles associated with biomedical research are:
- Title 7 - Department of Agriculture. 7 CFR 331 (with 9 CFR 121) governs possession, use, and transfer of biological agents and toxins that may pose a threat to animal or plant health, or to human safety.
- Title 9 - Animals and Animal Products. 9 CFR 2.31 mandates and describes the minimum activities required of Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees.
- Title 21 - Food and Drugs (Food and Drug Administration). 21 CFR 56 mandates and describes the minimum activities required of Institutional Review Boards (IRBs). 21 CFR 312 and 21 CFR 812 describe Investigational New Drug Applications and Investigational Device Exemptions, respectively.
- Title 37 - Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office).
- Title 42 - Public Health. 42 CFR 1 governs the Department of Health and Human Services (including the National Institutes of Health). 42 CFR 1003 establishes rules regarding possession, use, and transfer of select agents and toxins posing a threat to human health.
- Title 45 - Public Welfare. Protection of human subjects.
- Title 48 - Federal Acquisition Regulations (see above).
The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) codifies policies for the acquisition of supplies and services by federal executive agencies. Circulars governing the practices of federal agencies and those agencies’ regulations are maintained by The Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Of particular interest are:
- Circular A-21. Financial management procedures relevant to federal agreements with academic institutions and represent the “Cost Accounting Standards” for federal awards. See the Office of Sponsored Programs summary of Circular A-21 and its implementation at UVA.
- Circular A-110. Award of grants and contracts, post-award requirements, and property standards.
- Radiation Safety. New users of radioactive materials must attend classroom-based training (schedule of classes). Annually thereafter, users must take an on-line refresher course on Radiation and Chemical Safety.
- Chemical Safety. See link to on-line training.
BSL-2 and BSL-3 Training. For laboratory personnel who work in such biosafety levels.
- Bloodborne Pathogen and Biosafety Training. Laboratory and other personnel are provided with a review of exposure control, biosafety and infectious waste disposal practices. Initial training is in the classroom. On-line refresher courses are required annually thereafter.
- Shipping Infectious Substances & Diagnostic Specimens. Personnel who ship infectious substances (e.g., diagnostic specimens, microorganisms, human-derived materials) must complete a training program. Biennial refresher classes are required.
- Animal Research Orientation Seminar. This session is required of all new animal users (details and schedule of classes).
- ACUC on-line training modules. These mandatory, on-line modules are tailored to your particular research program, and include animal handling, rodent survival surgery, refresher modules for Principal Investigators, large animal surgery, and Laboratory Animal Training Association (LATA) Modules.
- Animal protocol writing workshop. This optional workshop, offered quarterly, provides hints for writing a successful protocol. Phone 924-0238 to register. Dr. Patricia Foley (924-1884, email@example.com) can help new investigators to strengthen their protocols and help in writing the animal use sections of grant proposals.
- Other voluntary programs are available from the ACUC, whose web site describes these offerings.
The IRB for Human Subjects Research and the IRB for Social and Behavioral Sciences offer on-line training on the major principles of conducting human subjects research that are consistent with legal and regulatory requirements. They also provide several non-required seminars and classes for investigators and clinical coordinators.
Computer and data security. All new SOM employees must complete this training module, which should take no more than 15 minutes. This general training module that includes the federal HIPAA requirement is administered by UVA Information Technology Services, and can be accessed here. Retain a printed copy of the last page, indicating that you have completed the training.
HIPAA privacy. All new SOM employees must complete this training module, which should take approximately 20 minutes. The module is found at the UVA Health System NetLearning site. Ask your local administrator for instructions on how to access this module.