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Administrative Updates from the OVCR

Administrative Updates from the OVCR

Stay connected to the OVCR. We also share information via our Twitter feed (@UofIResearch), newsletters, and email announcements to the Illinois Research Community. 

Management of Non-Disclosure Agreements  

It is common for a faculty member visiting a potential corporate sponsor to be asked to sign an NDA before there is an exchange of information. Be sure you understand the University's Non-Disclosure Agreement regulations.  

Research Safety Reminder 

Every fall semester, I write to remind investigators of their responsibility to help ensure the safety of all members of the campus community. There are very real consequences – beyond the rules and regulations – when we fail to build a culture of safety in our labs. Serious accidents happen from poor preparation, carelessness and inattention, and when researchers do not understand what is risky or dangerous. Every investigator has a responsibility to help prevent these kinds of incidents.  

As educators and as supervisors, you have an obligation to ensure that students, research staff, and visitors to campus labs know your expectations related to lab safety. Please make sure that everyone working in your research group knows that you expect them to:

  • complete appropriate training and understand safe modes of operation,
  • wear appropriate personal protective equipment, and
  • understand how to safely use lab equipment.

I ask all of you to help ensure that we create the safest possible environment for our research community and to train our students so that they leave this institution fully prepared to work safely in their chosen fields. Visit the Division of Research Safety’s website, www.drs.illinois.edu for details, or contact DRS staff members at drs@illinois.edu. They regularly collaborate with investigators to identify and mitigate potential hazards, and can provide the support you need to ensure that your lab is both safe and productive.

Talk with your Dean/Director/Department Head if you have specific questions.

Sincerely,

Peter Schiffer
Vice Chancellor for Research

Identification for Visiting Federal Facilities

ANNOUNCEMENT: Illinois Driver’s Licenses May No Longer be Acceptable as ID for Access to Many Federal Facilities and Military Bases

Illinois faculty and staff are encouraged to participate in review panels, advisory committees and other activities with federal agencies and national laboratories.  These activities support the federal research enterprise and enhance our success in receiving federal research funds.  The efforts of those who represent our campus at the national level are greatly appreciated.

We would like to alert everyone to a potential issue associated with access to federal facilities for holders of Illinois driver’s licenses.  Beginning January 10, 2016, Illinois driver’s licenses will no longer be acceptable as ID for access to many federal facilities and military bases, according to the Department of Homeland Security.  This is occurring because Illinois is not in compliance with the REAL ID Act of 2005 (see links to more detailed information below). 

We are receiving conflicting guidance regarding how these rules are being enforced.  To avoid any problems with visits to federal agencies, laboratories, military bases and other facilities, we recommend that visitors to these facilities take the following steps.

  1. Take a US passport with you when you make these visits
  2. Make sure to have contact numbers for your host

If you do not have a US passport, please contact your host in advance about access to the facility, in order to confirm what alternative forms of identification are accepted or what procedures the facility allows for those without acceptable identification.

We hope this information will be helpful to our faculty and staff who make visits to federal facilities. 

Links to more detailed information include:
Real ID Public FAQs:  http://www.dhs.gov/real-id-public-faqs
REAL ID Enforcement in Brief:  http://www.dhs.gov/real-id-enforcement-brief
REAL ID Rumor Control:  http://www.dhs.gov/real-id-and-you-rumor-control

 

IACUC Policy Amendment

ANNOUNCEMENT: Amended Policy on Use of Expired Drugs and Materials and Use of Non-Pharmaceutical Grade Compounds in Animals
The University of Illinois Policy on the Use of Expired Drugs and Materials and Use of Non-Pharmaceutical Grade Compounds in Animals has been amended to allow the use of non-pharmaceutical grade sodium pentobarbital for terminal perfusions. As you may know, the cost of pharmaceutical-grade pentobarbital has increased substantially, making its use for this purpose untenable for most studies. See the full announcement.

Travel to Embargoed Countries

The University’s Export Control Policy requires that all faculty, staff, and students contact the Export Compliance Officer prior to making plans to travel to an embargoed country. Under federal law, you will likely need to obtain a license from the Treasury Department before traveling to an embargoed country. Embargoed countries include Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria. A license is required for many activities in these countries, including conducting research, attending or presenting at conferences, teaching courses, and related research and educational activities. You should contact the Export Compliance Officer at least 60 days before any such travel in order to complete internal documentation regarding your planned activity, request a specific license as appropriate and/or fulfill any other requirements before traveling. As with other export control violations, failure to comply with this requirement may result in University disciplinary action and/or civil and criminal penalties.

Learn more about Export Controls here. 

Effort Reporting

A new campus policy, Effort and Compensation on Sponsored Projects, has been created.  As a condition of receiving sponsored grants and contracts, the University must assure sponsors that the effort expended on a sponsored project both justifies the salary charged to the project and meets our commitment to effort spent. Business officers of units where faculty are paid administrative stipends or are paid summer salary from sponsored projects, or where staff are paid 100% on sponsored projects, should make sure that these payments are handled in accordance with this policy. (Read a summary here.)  Faculty who received summer salary from grants last year will be contacted by the OVCR about this policy.

If you have questions, please contact us.

OVCR Survey 

In October 2014, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research launched a customer satisfaction survey. The purpose of the survey was to collect data that would help assess whether the OVCR adequately serves the Illinois research community as well as to identify and address any gaps in service and support. The survey was designed to impose a minimal burden on respondents. Faculty, academic professionals, and relevant staff were invited to participate via an email: “The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research seeks your feedback on the programs and services we provide to the Illinois research community. Please consider completing a very brief (3 question) survey to help us gauge our efforts and improve programs and processes.”

The survey was open for approximately 30 days during which time 449 responses were recorded. Respondents self-identified with one of the following major employment categories:

  • Tenure Track faculty- 198
  • Academic Professional-155
  • Staff-41
  • Other Faculty-29
  • Other-26

In addition, respondents were also asked to identify their major areas of specialization under the approximate categories of Agriculture, Arts, Engineering, Humanities, Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Social and Behavioral Sciences, or Other Units. Respondents were allowed to select more than one category of specialization, thus categorization by employee type was used for primary grouping.

Questions

The three questions asked in the survey related to the (i) the value of OVCR programs (ii) the quality of service (iii) the responsiveness of OVCR staff. In addition to answering these three questions, respondents were encouraged to provide free text comments about the quality of service provided by OVCR with respect to Proposal Submission, Research Safety, Human or Animal Subjects, and other OVCR operations (Campus Research Board, cost sharing, limited submissions, and conflict of interest management).

  1. The OVCR and OVCR service units develop and administer programs that strongly support the campus research community, enabling discovery and innovation.
  2. Staff members in the OVCR and OVCR service units provide excellent service to the campus.
  3. When contacted, OVCR staff members respond to inquiries in a timely manner.

Responses

Structured responses to the three questions addressing were generally in the Always and Usually category with some suggestion that tenure faculty are more positive than academic professionals and that staff and others are less able to make an assessment. Respondents identifying as staff seemed less positive about the responsiveness of OVCR Staff. All comments provided as free text have been grouped by respondent type and evaluated for action. The comments are available to Illinois faculty and staff and have not been edited except to obscure the identity of individuals who were the subject of critical remarks. The survey will be re-administered annually with only minor changes in structure that will be introduced to further reduce the burden on respondents.