VUMC Research Policies and Guidance

Vanderbilt University Medical Center policies and guidelines governing research are intended to support the University’s commitment to the highest standards of ethics, honesty, and integrity in pursuit of its research mission including the commitment to following all laws and regulations related to scientific research. These policies and guidelines are also intended to be consistent with the University’s principal missions of the preservation, pursuit, dissemination and application of knowledge.

Scientific research endeavors carried out by Vanderbilt faculty, staff, students, post-doctoral fellows, scholars, visiting scientists and other employees is governed by policies and procedures that include, but not limited to, standards of conduct; conflict of interest and commitment; intellectual property; sponsored research; VUMC research data retention and ownership; responsible conduct of research and research misconduct; and roles and responsibilities related to fiscal stewardship and accountability.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center Policy on Sharing, Retention and Ownership of Research Data
General principles governing ownership of research data obtained from any research activity using Vanderbilt University Medical Center facilities or with support from funds administered by the Medical Center.

Standards of Conduct
Consistent with the Faculty Manual and the Human Resources Staff Policies, the Vanderbilt University Standards of Conduct provide guidance for the University’s faculty, staff and others representing the University and set forth the University’s commitment to good practices and following the law.


Conflict of Interest and Commitment
All individual members of the University community are expected to (i) abide by the Conflict of Interest and Commitment Policy and standards set forth in this Policy (including any specific procedures adopted by specific schools or departments pursuant to or in furtherance of this policy), (ii) fully and continually disclose professional and relevant personal activities and relationships that create a Conflict of Interest or Commitment or have the appearance of creating a Conflict of Interest or Commitment as required by the University, (iii) remedy Conflicts of Interest or Commitment or comply with any management or monitoring plan prescribed by the University, (iv) remain aware of the potential for Conflicts of Interest and Commitment, and (v) take initiative to manage, disclose, or resolve Conflicts of Interest or Commitment as appropriate.

All senior administrators have the responsibility to understand and implement this policy, including, as necessary, the adoption of specific procedures for their respective schools and departments in furtherance of and in accordance with this policy.


Policy on Technology and Literary and Artistic Works
This policy governs the ownership, protection, and transfer of Technology (Inventions, Discoveries, and other Innovations) and Literary and Artistic Works created or authored by University faculty members, staff members, or students.


Policy Guidelines for Sponsored Research
General principles governing University research sponsored in whole or in part by outside entities, including industry or government.


Responsible Conduct of Research (including procedures applicable to allegations concerning misconduct in research sponsored by the U.S. Public Health Service)
Misconduct in research is considered to be a special case of deviation from standards of conduct established by the University or other practices that seriously deviate from those that are commonly accepted within the scholarly community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research.

The University defines misconduct by individuals involved in research or research training as: 1) falsification, fabrication, or theft of data or samples; 2) plagiarism; 3) unauthorized use of privileged information; 4) abuse of authorship; and 5) significant failure to comply with federal, state, or University rules governing research (or with appropriate professional or international rules when research is conducted outside the United States): examples include rules involving human subjects, animals, recombinant DNA, new drugs, new devices, radioactive materials, and preservation of antiquities and natural resources.


Financial Stewardship and Accountability
Roles and responsibilities related to the financial administration of research.


Guidelines Governing Minors in VUMC Laboratories
Provides guidance to faculty members, researchers, managers, and supervisors of laboratories and programs regarding underage individuals (minors) in VUMC research laboratories or facilities where physical hazards exist; where hazardous chemical, biological, or radiological agents are used or stored; or where laboratory animals are present.


Research Faculty Transition Checklist

Faculty transitions occur when a Faculty Member in a research role departs VUMC due to resignation, retirement, death, or termination or discontinues their research program while remaining at VUMC. During this time of transition, communication is critical to ensure compliance with federal regulations, state guidelines, and VUMC policies when closing out projects associated with sponsored research and institutionally-supported research. 

Please utilize the Research Faculty Transition Checklist to ensure the tracking of all outstanding grants, contracts, research projects, intellectual property, biospecimens, laboratory samples, etc. 


Policies regarding the Liability for Cost of Medical Treatment for Study-Related Injuries Occurring in Clinical Trials Research Conducted at Vanderbilt (Drug and Device Trials)

The Medical Center’s policy on financial responsibility for subject injuries caused by participation in clinical drug trials research conducted at Vanderbilt. (Access requires VUnet ID and password) 

The Medical Center’s policy on financial responsibility for subject injuries involving the use or application of an investigational device, humanitarian use device or a FDA approved/cleared device trials conducted at Vanderbilt. (Access requires VUnet ID and password)