Requirements for U.S. Academic Research

In response to the increasing dialogue about the potential for “undue foreign influence” on U.S. academic research, the University of Notre Dame urges all faculty members, employees, and students involved in the conduct or support of research be mindful of the following requirements:

Peer Review

Information gained through peer review processes – whether reviewing grant applications or publications – is confidential and should not be shared with anyone outside those processes. The Collins letter specifically reminds the research community to adhere to the confidentiality of these processes.

Transparency in Disclosure

Faculty members and other researchers should be thorough and complete in accounting for all forms of research support, including from foreign sources and gifts, in NIH’s Other Support, the NSF's Current and Pending Support, and similar documentation submitted to other sponsors; these disclosures are important for the University to meet its compliance obligations.

Faculty members and other researchers must disclose financial interests or other activities that might create the perception of or potential for a conflict of interest – both annually and within 15 days of acquiring any new interests, as required by the University Conflict of Interest Policy. They must also disclose or seek prior approval for activities described in the University Conflict of Commitment Policy, including support from foreign governments and foreign academic institutions, consulting relationships, visiting positions, and all investments in start-up companies. Faculty and other researchers must disclose any involvement in any foreign recruitment or “talent” programs. These programs are of particular interest to the federal government, as they are seen as presenting a uniquely high risk of undermining U.S. economic and security interests.

Compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits payments to foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business, is required.

Intellectual property

Pursuant to the University’s Intellectual Property Policy, Intellectual property and inventions must be promptly disclosed and appropriately reported to the IDEA Center using the Invention Disclosure Form to ensure intellectual property is protected.

Export controls

Notre Dame expects research activities performed for any sponsor, especially non-U.S. sources, will be fundamental in nature and placed in the public domain or disseminated freely in open publication, without restrictions. Any deviation from this practice should be discussed with Notre Dame Research Administration (NDRA)  prior to accepting the work; a separate review by Notre Dame’s Export Control officer may be required.

To ensure compliance with the University’s obligations under U.S. export control laws and other applicable laws and regulations, the University must maintain a thorough understanding of the entities with which researchers work and share information. Accordingly, University faculty members, staff, and students are required to coordinate with Notre Dame’s Export Control Officer in any case in which collaboration or sponsorship of research with University personnel or is proposed by a non-U.S.-owned company or foreign government-related entity (either a person, company, or governmental organization) in order to verify that export control or U.S. government sanction obligations are satisfied.

Export control regulations seek to protect our national economic competitiveness, national security, and enforce U.S. trade sanctions. These regulations are complex and constantly evolving. For example, several countries are under comprehensive federal embargo (Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and the Crimea Region of the Ukraine). Travel to/from these countries/territories should be disclosed to Notre Dame’s Export Control Officer as early as possible in advance of the anticipated travel to ensure appropriate clearance can be obtained. 

Notre Dame faculty and staff members traveling internationally on University business should register at the University’s Travel Registry; students are required to register. International travelers should also consult with the Office of Information Technologies to ensure that any information carried abroad is properly secured and to review the Information Security Standards for International Travel. 

For full details on export control, please visit research.nd.edu/our-services/compliance/export-control

Policies for engaging visiting collaborators

Visiting scientists and other researchers are essential to our research programs. It is important to follow proper appointment processes to ensure that individuals are properly vetted and that their access to University resources and systems is appropriate for the purpose of their work. Researchers must be professional and diligent in evaluating the nature of any visiting collaborators, especially for those visitors with extended stays or who do not have the appropriate background for the anticipated research activity. Activities that raise suspicion should be reported to a Dean’s office and NDRA. 

Proper security of materials, data, and confidential information

Faculty members and staff who plan to share research materials or data with other institutions, foreign or otherwise, should ensure that an institutionally approved agreement is in place between Notre Dame and that institution, such as a material transfer agreement, data use agreement, or nondisclosure agreement to govern the use of those materials or data. NDRA provides guidance on these agreements.

Similarly, faculty members and staff should consult with NDRA before accepting any sensitive or controlled information under a research contract that may require heightened physical or cybersecurity requirements.

Faculty members and investigators must ensure that all agreements are reviewed and signed by institutional officials with specific delegation of signatory authority under the University’s bylaws.

NEED MORE INFORMATION?

Please contact the Associate Vice President for Research for more information on the requirements for academic research. For relevant forms, codes, and policies, please visit the Resource Library.