The U.S. government has growing concerns about inappropriate influence by foreign governments over federally funded research. In 2018, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued a statement about incidents that violate core principles and threaten the integrity and academic competitiveness of U.S. biomedical research and innovation, including:
- Failure to disclose all conflicts of interest, foreign affiliations, conflicts of commitment and other support in applications for NIH grants.
- Diversion of proprietary or pre-publication information disclosed in grant applications or produced by NIH-supported research to those not authorized to receive it.
- Breaches of confidentiality in peer review.
A year later, the National Science Foundation (NSF) shared similar concerns with the research community.
Protecting the integrity of U.S. research
NIH and NSF have been working with universities and other government agencies to better define and identify steps to address these risks.
When submitting grant proposals to federal agencies or receiving research/sponsored funding:
- Make sure all forms of support, financial interests and relevant affiliations are disclosed.
- Documents, such as the NIH “Other Support” and NSF “Current and Pending Support,” should include all sources of support and commitments of time and effort.
- Biosketches and the NSF “Collaborators and Other Affiliations” documents should be current and thorough.
- Annual progress reports should reflect changes to a key person’s level of support and sources of support over the previous year and should include any inventions.
- Inventions also must be reported to MU Technology Advancement as required by the University of Missouri Collected Rules and Regulations, section 100.020, which state that inventions made by an employee in the “general scope of his/her duties” must be assigned to the university.
- External activities related to work within the scope of your university responsibilities must be disclosed through the conflict of interest process and through reporting mechanisms required by NIH or NSF.
- NIH’s reporting mechanisms include the proposal process, responses to Just-in-Time requests, annual progress reports and disclosures of significant financial interests (conflict of interest).
- NSF proposals require that you disclose all of your organizational affiliations for the previous 12 months and all co-authors/collaborators and their affiliations for the previous 48 months.
- Other federal agencies may have different reporting requirements. SPA or research administrators housed in MU schools, colleges and departments can assist you with those requirements.
Additional policies and requirements
- NSF18-1, Proposal & Award Policies and Procedures Guide
- Biosketch instructions and samples
- Other support – Just-in-Time request or Research Performance Progress Report
Innovations, intellectual property and industry
- MU Office of Technology Advancement
- University of Missouri System Office of Intellectual Property Administration
- Patent and plant variety regulations (Collected Rules and Regulations, section 100.020)
- Patent and copyright law (Collected Rules and Regulations, section 100.030)
Conflict of interest and conflict of financial interest
- MU Conflict of Interest office
- Policy on conflict of interest (Collected Rules and Regulations, section 330.015) — Applicable to all university employees
- Conflict with the interests of federal grant agencies (Collected Rules and Regulations, section 420.030) —Applicable to Public Health Service (PHS)-funded and NSF-funded researchers
- MU Conflict of Interest Procedures