Campus News Georgia Impact

New UGA committee seeks input on research compliance policies and responsibility

Scott Angle

Faced with increasing federal scrutiny and oversight of sponsored research funding, UGA and other top research universities are examining their policies on research accountability and compliance, and the roles and responsibilities of the administrators and faculty carrying them out.

A 21-member committee of faculty and administrators representing all UGA colleges and schools is currently developing recommendations for changes to ensure that campus-wide, UGA is compliant with institutional, sponsor, state and federal policies, procedures and guidelines that govern research.

However, the com­mittee’s  charge goes beyond the changes themselves and extends to making sure that the responsibility for compliance is balanced.

“What we mean by this is how do we abide by the rules, but at the same time make them less cumbersome?” said Scott Angle, dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and chair of the committee. “Our goal is to reduce our risk by wringing the inefficiency out of the system.”

Through this committee, said Angle, “We’re hearing the requirements of UGA faculty—right from the source.”

Insights from an additional 40 faculty and 10 to 15 research administrators will be sought late this month and in early March through one-on-one interviews conducted by committee consultants. Both new and experienced researchers representing all areas of the university will be included in the random sample selected. Information from the interviews will be augmented by an open forum for all faculty and research administrators March 5-6 at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center and Hotel.  Final recommendations of the committee will be issued in a report later in the spring.

The committee has been meeting since October and has identified the top compliance risks and the most burdensome policies, and benchmarked them against national and federal standards. Its list of 20 policies—selected from a list of more than 50—ranges from accounts receivable management to award acceptance and set-up to human subjects, animal care and biosafety. The committee also is reviewing roles and responsibilities and training and education opportunities to support increased compliance.

Anyone with questions or comments about the committee, its process or accountability and compliance issues are encouraged to contact committee members.

In addition to Angle, committee members are: Michael Adams, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Lee Becker, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication; Barry Bozeman, Public Administration and Policy; Chad Cleveland, Accounting and Financial Reporting; Dan Colley, Microbiology; Steve Dempsey, Public Service and Outreach; Vicki Freimuth, Speech Communication; Chicki George, Pharmacy; Andrea Hohmann, Psychology; Chris King, Office of the Vice President for Research, Animal Care and Use; Ginny Lyman, College of Family and Consumer Sciences; Mary Ann Moran, Marine Programs; Jessica Muilenburg, Public Health; Pamela Orpinas, Health Promotion and Behavior; Debra Rucker, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; Kathy Vinson, Cellular Biology; Paul Roman, Sociology; Holley Schramski, Finance and Administration; Regina Smith, Office of the Vice President for Research, Sponsored Programs; and Tracy Walters, Contracts and Grants.