Virginia Union University pursues funding from federal agencies, foundations, state government, organizations and individuals. To comply with funding agencies, Sponsored Research and Programs serves as a liaison for researchers, study participants, and federal agencies to ensure that the ethical conduct of research, using external funds, is protected.
Compliance policies have been established regarding the implementation of sponsored projects which include monitoring research on human and animal subjects and hazardous materials to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations as well as Virginia Union University policies. Export Control policies have been established regarding the implementation of these activities with the goal to recognize the importance of compliance with all applicable export control regulations in the conduct of university activities.
Federal regulations require Virginia Union University, when using animals as research subjects, to carefully monitor their care and use. The University is committed to observing federal regulations pertaining to animal care. Animal research shall be further governed as follows:
Human Subjects Protection and the Institutional Review Board (IRB)
Virginia Union University has established and IRB to review all research involving the use of human subjects and to implement institutional guidelines and procedures regarding such research. VUU adheres to the rules and regulations governing human research as contained in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Part 46 of Title 45 Code of Federal Regulations and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 21 CFR Parts 50 and 56. The use of human subjects in research imposes both ethical and legal responsibilities upon the researcher, faculty, sponsor, project director, and the University to ensure that the rights and welfare of those subjects are adequately protected as defined by federal and state regulations.
All research involving the use of human subjects conducted by VUU faculty, staff, or students; or sponsored in part or in whole by VUU; must be reviewed and approved prior to start of the project and then conducted in full compliance with IRB guidelines and procedures. Researchers must assure through verified training that the welfare of their research participants is of paramount importance. All VUU personnel, whether faculty, staff, or students, shall be IRB-certified before conducting human subjects research.
The Research Compliance Officer for VUU shall serve as the Export Control Empowered Official (ECEO )and consult with the Director of Sponsored Research and Programs on export controlled matters at VUU. The ECEO shall have overall responsibility to administer the University’s export control compliance with this policy. Principal Investigators/Program Directors shall be responsible for ensuring that all research project staff (including consultants and students) are knowledgeable of the VUU Export Control Policy.
Responsible Conduct in Research
Virginia Union University expects the highest standards of professional and ethical conduct. The major responsibility for maintaining standards of intellectual integrity rests with the individual scholars and with the departments in which they work. To that end, unethical behavior in research represents a breach of the confidence among faculty, staff, and students as well as other research scientists that is central to the advancement of knowledge.
The term "responsible conduct of research" encompasses important shared principles of honesty, accuracy, efficiency and objectivity that guide research. As research has advanced, issues of research integrity have received substantial public attention. Cases of researchers falsifying and fabricating results, unearned authorship and ghost writing, concerns of corporate influence through undisclosed corporate income to researchers and instances of plagiarism have all been featured in the recent news. In order to strengthen the integrity of research and creative scholarship, instruction in the responsible conduct of research must be considered a vital part of research and creative scholarship.
Federal laws and regulations are mandating RCR education. National Science Foundation (NSF) requires all undergraduate student, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers supported by NSF research funding to receive RCR training. National Institute of Health (NIH) requires that all trainees, fellows, participants and scholars receiving support through any NIH training , career development award (individual or institutional), research education grant, and dissertation research grant must receive instruction in responsible conduct of research.
Comprehensive web based training is provided through the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) for RCR. Disciplines include: Biomedical, Social and Behavioral, Physical Science, Art and Humanities, Engineers and Administrative. Instructional areas include: data acquisition, management, sharing and ownership, human participants, animal welfare, conflict of interest and commitment, peer review, publication, practices and responsible authorship, collaboration, mentor/trainee relationships, research misconduct, intellectual property, and lab safety.
In conjunction with the online course, researchers will have an opportunity to participate in RCR workshops. These workshops, using case studies and interactive discussion are designed to allow researchers to expand upon the information gained through online training with their peers.
A key component to effective training is in the context of day-to-day activities of the researchers. Principal Investigators are expected to incorporate RCR as a part of their discussions with postdoctoral researchers, graduate students, and undergraduate students.
Export control regulations were established to protect U.S. National security and foreign policy interests. These regulations govern the export of all items of U.S. origin as well as information and/or software that may be shared with foreign nationals in the U.S. or abroad. Federal laws and regulations limit the export of certain ‘protected technologies’ (equipment and related manuals, software, data and/or other intellectual property) to foreign countries. The laws and regulations include, among its restrictions, the sharing of information about these ‘protected technologies’ with foreign nationals who are visiting or studying in the U.S. (called deemed exports). Although most basic research performed in universities is exempt from these federal restrictions, there are numerous exceptions to this exemption.
Each VUU faculty, staff, and student who is involved in research must take reasonable precautions for safeguarding sensitive and export controlled data and information from disclosure to foreign persons without proper authorization. A license from the U.S. government is required before a foreign national has access to hardware or technology controlled by either the U.S. Department of Commerce or the U.S. Department of State.
Virginia Union University conducts academic research and other activities that involve the use of hazardous materials. The purpose of this policy is to ensure compliance with all local, state, and federal regulations regarding hazardous materials. Hazardous material is defined as radioactive waste, biohazard waste, PCB waste, asbestos waste or other specially regulated waste that is no longer of use. These materials, if not properly used, stored, transported, and disposed of, may pose a risk to persons or the environment by virtue of properties such as toxicity, corrosiveness, reactivity, flammability, or infectivity among others. It is the University’s position that it shall provide an environment free from recognized, significant hazards and comply with local and federal regulations regarding environmental and occupational safety and health, such as those promulgated by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Conflict of Interest
All personnel involved in the research project must complete the Conflict of Interest Form indicating any support, funding or affiliation with any outside agencies, institutions or entities which might have any interest or influence in the outcome of the research, or which might possibly benefit in any way from the outcome of the research project.