Standards for Conduct of Research

2.1 Standards of Business Conduct

2.1.1 Federal Regulations

Since the University accepts Federal funding, it is required to follow Federal rules, guidelines and procedures when administering grants, contracts, cooperative agreements and other agreements. Generally, all awards (whether Federal, other governmental or private source) need to be administered consistently to meet the intent of the rules as defined by the Federal government. The Office of Sponsored Projects is available for assistance regarding agency rules and regulations.

2.1.2 Debarment and Suspension

Definitions

Debarment - An action taken by a debarring official in accordance with regulations to exclude a person from participating in transactions covered by these regulations. A person so excluded is debarred.

Suspension - An action taken by a suspending official in accordance with regulations that immediately excludes a person from participating in covered transactions for a temporary period, pending completion of an investigation and such legal, debarment, or Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act proceedings as may ensue. A person so excluded is suspended.

Executive Order 12549 and FAR 521.209-5 created a government wide debarment and suspension system in connection with all transactions with federal agencies. The regulations require that the University (which is the formal applicant for grant and contract funds from the federal government) certify that neither the University nor the University's officers nor researchers (faculty and their professional colleagues):

  1. Are presently debarred, suspended, proposed for debarment, declared ineligible, or voluntarily excluded from covered transactions (defined as being eligible to receive federal funds) by any federal department or agency.
  2. Have, within a 3-year period preceding an application for funding, been convicted of or had a civil judgment rendered against them for commission of fraud or a criminal offense in connection with obtaining, attempting to obtain or performing a public transaction or contract under a public transaction; violation of federal or state antitrust statutes or commission of embezzlement, theft, forgery, bribery, falsification or destruction of records, making false statements, or receiving stolen property.
  3. Are presently indicted or otherwise criminally or civilly charged by a government entity (federal, state, or local) with commission of any of the offenses enumerated in (2) above.
  4. Have, within a 3-year period preceding this application, had one or more public transactions (federal, state, or local) terminated for cause or default.

Any individual who meets any of the above conditions must immediately notify the Office of Sponsored Projects and are precluded from receiving federally funded grant or contract awards or from being paid with federal funds. PI’s must disclose on the document summary sheet (DSS) if they have been debarred or suspended.

2.1.3 Lobbying

Section 1352, Title 31, U.S. Code (The Byrd Amendment) prohibits recipients of federal funds (whether grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements) from using those funds to lobby to obtain, extend, or modify a federal award. Even though the recipient of federal funds is legally the institution, individuals who are employed by the institution are specifically included in the regulation.

Items of the law which apply to University of Utah faculty, research staff, and administrative staff include the following:

  1. You may not use federal funds to influence or attempt to influence any member of the Executive or Legislative branches of government (including any agency employee) for the purpose of securing a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement or an extension, renewal, or modification of any of these. Charging travel expenses to a federal award or drawing salary from a federal award while attempting to influence the award of federal funds for a specific program is defined as lobbying, and is prohibited. You may neither make such expenditures yourselves nor hire someone to do so, on your behalf.

    The regulation allows employees, who have been employed at least 130 days by the University during the previous 12 months, more freedom to discuss research activities with agencies than it allows to non-employee "lobbyists". Faculty and others new to the University should be careful about talking to agencies about specific research projects until they have been at the University for approximately 6 months.

    It is acceptable to ask, "When will a decision be made on my proposal?" It is not acceptable to describe why your proposal should be funded rather than some other proposal. It is not the intent of the regulation to prohibit the normal interchange between S Revised February 24, 2012 Page 13 of 104 a faculty member and a program officer at an agency. However, there is no clear line marking where optimistic discussion of research progress ends and discussion of a new or renewal award begins. Federal program officers have received training on this matter and should know when to cut off discussion, but the responsibility is a joint one. If you are unsure, ask.

  2. If the proposed award exceeds $100,000, OSP must certify for the University at the time of proposal submission that the University will abide by the regulations above and we must, if lobbying has occurred using non-federal funds, submit a report of such activities. If the PI or their staff is aware of any facts that make this certification inaccurate, please let OSP know immediately.
  3. If the University violates the regulations, we are subject to fines of $10,000 to $100,000 for each violation and other remedies the federal government may deem appropriate. The penalties could include loss of the particular award and suspension, or debarment as an institution, from further federal funding.
Last Updated: 11/14/16