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5100 - General Research Policy


  • Position: Vice President ORED
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Last updated: July 22, 2022


A. Introduction
B. Definitions
C. Aims and Objectives
D. Sources of Strengthened Support for Research
E. Guidelines Applicable to All Research
F. Provisions Pertaining to Proposals for and the Conduct of Research Supported by Grants, Contracts, and Cooperative Agreements
G. Obligations of the University Pertaining to the Conduct of Research Supported by Grants, Contracts, and Cooperative Agreements
H. Obligations of the Principal Investigator Pertaining to the Conduct of Research Supported by Grants, Contracts, and Cooperative Agreements
I. Investigations Involving Human Subjects (see 5200
J. Indirect-Cost Assessments


A-1. Teaching, research, and service are UI’s basic functions. Consistent with these functions, as they are influenced by the special responsibilities of a publicly supported, land-grant institution, by state and federal legislation, and by the regents’ designation of UI as the state’s chief research center and preeminent center for research-oriented graduate programs (see FSH 1320 D), all faculty members have an obligation to contribute to UI’s research effort. In turn it is UI policy to encourage, assist, and provide facilities for faculty members in the fulfillment of their research responsibilities. 

A-2. It is UI policy that its employees conform to established ethical standards in the conduct of their research and creative activities. See FSH 3170 and 3230.

A-3. Though departments have the direct responsibility to provide for and to evaluate research efforts, administrators at all levels are responsible for allocating to the research function a share of the available financial resources and manpower that is appropriate in light of the teaching and service functions. The allocation of research funds should also be proportionate to the research capabilities and needs of the UI colleges and departments.

A-4. Research undertaken by members of the faculty and staff on their own time, i.e., outside of normal duty hours, and that does not involve the use of UI facilities (other than the library and normal office use), equipment, personnel, or supplies, is not covered by these policies.


B-1. "Research," as defined in Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, includes ". . . critical and exhaustive investigation or experimentation having for its aim the discovery of new facts and their correct interpretation, the revision of accepted conclusions, theories, or laws in the light of newly discovered facts, or the practical application of such new or revised conclusions, theories, or laws. . . ." For the purpose of these policies, "research" includes not only the sense of the above definition, but also those investigations, experiments, and creative activities that are characteristic of, and appropriate to, the fine arts.

B-2. "Grant research" denotes research that is conducted by UI under a written agreement and made possible by a direct gift of money or equipment for the initiation of a new project or for additional support of a continuing research program. Research grants may or may not involve commitment of matching funds from UI or the research unit involved. Unless matching funds are requested from UI or the research unit involved, they should not be volunteered. Whenever UI matching funds are offered, a detailed plan of the allocation of faculty or staff members’ time to such matching must be provided to the grants and contracts financial administrator on award of the grant, contract, or agreement.

B-3. "Contract research" denotes research conducted by UI under a written agreement with, and funded by, an individual donor, foundation, private company, institution, or governmental agency. The research is undertaken primarily for the purpose of obtaining information requested by the outside contractor (but see E-1).

B-4. "Cooperative-agreement research" denotes research conducted under a written agreement entered into by UI and one or more other institutions or agencies for the purpose of cooperatively conducting a research effort. Resources are shared in order to attain mutual or complementary research goals. The principal investigator must ensure that the cooperating agency is aware that it must provide a budget and scope-of-work statement in the same detail as required by UI. In addition, the cooperating agency is to be requested to provide performance reports, both narrative and financial, to UI on the same schedule as required of UI.

B-5. "Indirect costs" are charges assessed to cover expenses incurred by UI but not directly ascribable to a specific research activity. Examples of such costs are those for services by the University Library and central administration, including Facilities Management and Custodial Services, and overhead expenses such as for insurance, utilities, and use of equipment and buildings. A federally set indirect-cost rate is applied to projects supported by federal grants or contracts and, as a general rule, the same rate is assessed to projects funded by grants from or contracts with private industry. A different rate applies to contracts with agencies of the state of Idaho. For policies and procedures concerning waiver of the assessment of indirect costs and the allocation of funds received as reimbursement of indirect costs, see J.

B-6. The "Research Council" is the faculty’s standing committee that oversees the implementation of research policies and resolves disagreements about the interpretation or implementation of those policies. See FSH 1640.72.

B-7. The "Idaho Research Foundation, Inc.," is a not-for-profit corporation organized to promote educational objectives: by carrying on and supporting research programs that will be in the public’s interest; by functioning as an agent of education in such areas as research, copyrights, inventions, publishing, and contracts with governmental and other legal entities; by training and developing persons for the conduct of research; by disseminating scientific knowledge and technical information to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis; and by encouraging and assisting scholars and artists through financial support, aid in obtaining patents and copyrights, and other means.

B-8. "Director of university research" refers to the vice president of research and economic development, who is designated by the president to direct the University Research Office and, in general, to coordinate the university’s research activities. (ed. 9-10)

C. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES. The policy stated in this section derives from and contributes to the attainment of the following aims and objectives to which, among others, UI is committed: (1) development and maintenance of undergraduate and graduate academic programs of excellent quality, (2) advancement of knowledge through research and scholarship, (3) preservation and dissemination of knowledge. For a complete statement of UI’s mission and role, see FSH 1320.

D. SOURCES OF STRENGTHENED SUPPORT FOR RESEARCH. Full attainment of the goals implicit in the above subsection is dependent in large measure on expanded research activities, which can be made possible through:

D-1. Vigorous effort on the part of faculty members to obtain research grants and contracts from outside sources.

D-2. Strengthened support for--and consequently, increased financial support from--the Idaho Research Foundation, particularly from assignment of royalties and copyrights to the foundation.

D-3. Assignments of funds from the general education budget, whenever possible, to the University Research Office. The amount of such funds should be commensurate with the current level of research activity and will be computed on a percentage of the research monies generated from outside sources by UI research units.


E-1. All research projects undertaken should give promise of furthering UI’s mission, functions, and objectives and those of the colleges and departments involved. Contract research, though conducted primarily for the purpose of obtaining information requested by the outside contractor, should also qualify under this guideline.

E-2. Research projects should be carefully planned so as to enhance the likelihood that they will result in valuable contributions to knowledge or solutions of significant problems.

E-3. Research projects may be proposed and carried out by a single department, through the cooperation of several departments and colleges, or in collaboration with other institutions, including the Idaho Research Foundation. Whenever possible, the research should be directed by a member of the faculty or professional staff and should involve students.

E-4. The amount of research activity undertaken by faculty members should be consistent with the maintenance of both high research standards and excellence in the performance of undergraduate and graduate teaching duties. Departments should offer encouragement and guidance to faculty members so that they properly balance research and teaching activities.

E-5. Departments receiving state appropriations for research should regularly evaluate their programs in order to strike an appropriate balance between the short-term research needs of the state and long-term research goals. It should be emphasized that, as a state-supported, land-grant institution, UI has a responsibility to develop and conduct research programs to serve the people of Idaho.

E-6. Research projects that restrict the release of program content or results normally are to be avoided. This policy in no way prohibits:

a. Provisions for protecting the right to privacy of persons, business entities, and corporations who are the subjects of, or the participants (e.g., through interviews) in, a research program. See FSH 5200.

b. UI from granting a reasonable delay in the release of the program content or results after a project’s completion, if the sponsor has a bona fide intention to apply for a patent or copyright.

c. Research involving cultural resource site locational data that are restricted on a "need to know" basis.

d. Research programs that are deemed to be in the best interest of the nation, the results of which may be "classified" by the federal government. Such proposals must be approved on a case-by-case basis by the director of university research, the president of the university, and the Board of Regents.


F-1. Proposals addressed to outside agencies requesting support for research projects must be approved by the appropriate college administrator(s) and the vice president for research and graduate studies, or that officer’s designee, before submission to the financial vice president. This vice president, as bursar, is designated by Idaho law and by the regents to execute such documents on UI’s behalf, and, as treasurer of the regents, is responsible for complying with the board’s financial policies and reporting procedures. See FSH 1420 B-2 and 6140 B-2-b.

F-2. It is necessary to ensure that adequate facilities and equipment will be available to conduct the research or that funds will be provided to make them available.

F-3. There should be a good prospect of securing any additional professional or nonprofessional personnel required to conduct the research.

F-4. The budget must be adequate for the work proposed, including allowances for contingencies and possible salary increases.

F-5. It is necessary to make provision for any UI funds required in the form of either direct or indirect costs. See B-5. Payment of expenditures in excess of any research budget is the responsibility of the sponsoring department.

F-6. The terms covering any research grant, contract, or cooperative agreement must be compatible with the regular UI policies and procedures, including the unrestricted release of the program content and results, except as provided in subsection E-6. The terms must also conform to the principles of UI’s policy on patents and copyrights (see FSH 5300), must not infringe academic integrity, and must permit UI and the departments and faculty members involved to exercise administrative control over the project and to retain responsibility for the work undertaken.

F-7. Prescribed forms to be used in seeking external funding support can be obtained, with instructions for their completion and routing, from the University Research Office.

F-8. It is the principal investigator’s responsibility to ensure that adequate audit records of narrative reports, as specified in the agreement or contract, are maintained to satisfy any future audit.

G. OBLIGATIONS OF THE UNIVERSITY PERTAINING TO THE CONDUCT OF RESEARCH SUPPORTED BY GRANTS, CONTRACTS, AND COOPERATIVE AGREEMENTS. In accepting a grant or entering into a contract or cooperative agreement for research, UI and the colleges, institutes, bureaus, or departments involved undertake the following obligations:

G-1. To allocate the research talent and time, library resources, and administrative services (e.g., services of the central administration and Business Systems and Accounting Services, routine secretarial and clerical assistance, shop and laboratory facilities, custodial service, insurance, utilities, and building maintenance) required to fulfill the research commitment. 

G-2. To provide facilities for the production of reports and publications describing the research performed and the results achieved.

G-3. To ensure that persons conducting research and others in UI understand and comply with the policies outlined herein, with patent, copyright, publication, and fiscal requirements, and with UI’s policy covering conflict of interest. See FSH 6240.

H. OBLIGATIONS OF THE PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR PERTAINING TO THE CONDUCT OF RESEARCH SUPPORTED BY GRANTS, CONTRACTS, AND COOPERATIVE AGREEMENTS. In making application for and receiving a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement for research, the principal investigator assumes the following obligations:

H-1. To ensure that research conducted and reported is of high standards of excellence and consistent with the mission, functions, and objectives of the university. See FSH 1320.

H-2. To ensure that all conditions of the grant, contract, or agreement are met.

H-3. To ensure that only proper budget expenditures are made and that budget categories are not overexpended.

H-4. To ensure that proper employee time records are maintained.

H-5. To ensure that time schedules are observed.

H-6. To ensure that progress and final reports are prepared and transmitted on time.

H-7. To ensure that student and other researchers are given full credit for work on or for ideas contributed to research projects.

H-8. To ensure that UI policies and procedures pertaining to safety, vehicle use, human subjects, patent, copyright, publication, etc., are adhered to in the pursuit of the research.

H-9. To ensure that research conducted away from the UI campus adheres to the same high standards of excellence and conduct as is expected on campus.

H-10. To report immediately in writing to one’s superior if any of the above obligations, H-1 through H-9, cannot be fulfilled.



J-1. UI does not waive indirect costs (i.e., facilities and administrative costs, F&A) on any grant or contract unless (a) the granting agency provides in writing its official policy stating that it does not allow indirect costs or allows only a specific percentage or (b) the vice president of research and economic development determines that the grant or contract is of such an unusual nature that a waiver, in part or in full, is unquestionably in UI’s interest.

J-2. The annual income generated through facilities and administrative costs (F&A) will be distributed between the university administration and the units that generated the income. This distribution will be reviewed by the Research Council as provided in section J-3. 

a. The intended uses of these funds are to support and stimulate scholarly activities by providing financial resources to address administrative, personnel, infrastructure and other costs associated with productive research environments. 

b. The unit/department/principal investigator to which the funds are allocated has control over use of these funds. A unit/department/principal investigator may, however, choose to make its funds available to a different unit.

c.  In cases where revenues are generated by multiple units on a single project, the units will jointly develop a method to allocate the revenues. If the units cannot agree on a method for allocating the revenues, the Vice President of Research and Economic Development will arbitrate the differences and specify the final allocation.

J-3. The Research Council will review the sharing of indirect-cost income and advise the university administration on its use and distribution on an annual basis.  

Version History

Amended 2022. Editorial changes.

Amended May 2007. Sections J-2 and J-3 were substantively revised.

Amended 2003. Sections J-2 and J-3 were substantively revised.

Amended May 1983. Added subsection A-2 and section J.

Amended April 1982. Modified section H and subsection E-6.c. Directorship of university research was vested in the dean of the Graduate School.

Adopted 1979.

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