University of Memphis (14K)

2012 Faculty Handbook

Chapter 6 - Research and Service


Research and Service

Research and Service

Vice Provost for Research

The Vice Provost for Research has overall responsibility for fostering and expanding opportunities for research and enhancing the University's scholarly environment and competitiveness. The office also provides leadership for multi-institutional and interdiscipli­nary research.

Research Administration

The Office of Research Support Services, a major division within the Vice Provost for Research area, assists faculty and staff in locating sources of external support for research and other projects; in obtaining application materials; in preparing proposals for submission; and in developing, reviewing, and negotiating appropriate award mechanisms with external agencies. The staff provides assistance in budget preparation, interpretation of sponsor guidelines, forms completion, and other proposal submission tasks.

External funding is available from federal, state, and local governments, and from commer­cial and non-profit organizations in the form of grants, contracts, and other agreements. Funding opportunity information is available at the Research Support Services website: and includes access to Community of Science, a multi­disciplinary funding and expertise database. Access to the University of Tennessee Funding Opportunities System, which lists over 12,000 funding opportunities and is updated daily, is available through this office. Research Alert, a monthly newsletter published by the office, lists sponsored research opportunities with their deadlines and provides additional information of interest to researchers and can be accessed through their homepage.

The Office of Grants and Contracts Accounting, which is within the Division of Business and Finance, is generally responsible for post-award administration, including budget preparation, financial reporting and billing requirements, and records maintenance for auditing purposes.


Patents and Copyrights

The University's policy on patents and copyrights is applicable to all faculty, administrators, staff, students, and other individuals employed by or enrolled in the University. It is the responsibility of these individuals to acquaint themselves with this policy, details of which may be found in Policy UM1607-Intellectual Property. The implementa­tion of this policy is a charge of the standing committee on patents, copyrights, and licens­ing. The University has a right to claim ownership of intellectual property that has been generated through the use of a significant amount of University resources or in the course of an employee's assigned duties, while recognizing the rights of authors and inventors to share in any revenue derived from their work. According to the policy on patents and copyrights,

  • Employees of the University are required to disclose to the patents, copyrights, and licensing committee any invention or new technology arising from their work at the University of Memphis. The University will either waive claim to the invention or recommend steps for the University to exploit the income-generating potential of the new technology. The individuals producing the technology will share in the benefits according to the policies and procedures cited above.
  • In general, the University observes the traditional custom that all rights of copyright ownership are vested with faculty members as authors. If copyrightable work is prepared as a result of an assignment for which released time is allocated by the University, or by signifi­cant use of University staff, equipment, facilities, and resources, the work will belong to the University, including all rights of copyright, unless released by the University. Proceeds are to be used in such a manner as to produce the maximum benefit to the public and to the University. Individuals producing copyrighted material will share in the benefits according to the policies and procedures cited above.
  • Patents or copyrightable materials developed from any sponsored research or programs are subject to the terms of the contract and related University policies. Further information can be obtained from the vice provost for research.

Safeguarding Research in Progress

Research conducted by faculty members using the academic mainframe is protected via weekly backups; however, it is the responsibility of the individual faculty member to take the necessary steps to protect research in progress.

Regulatory Issues

Federal and state regulatory agencies, granting agencies, and other funding sources promulgate regulations, standards, and related requirements that have the potential to impact laboratory research activities.  Some of the standing committees at the University that oversee compliance of many of these requirements include:

  • Institutional Review Board
  • Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee
  • Chemical Hygiene Committee
  • Biological Safety Committee
  • Radiation Safety Committee

Consultative services to assist researchers in meeting their regulatory obligations are offered by the Environmental Health and Safety Office:

Institutional Review Board and Human Subjects Research

All University of Memphis faculty, staff, or students who propose to engage in any research activity involving the use of human subjects must have prior approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB). The IRB is responsible for safeguarding the rights and welfare of all persons participating in research projects, whether funded or non-funded. Human subject means a living individual about whom an investigator (whether professional or student) conducting research obtains (1) data through intervention or interaction with the individual, or (2) identifiable private information. Research means a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generaliz­able knowledge. For further information, contact the IRB coordinator in the Office of Research Support Services. See also

Vertebrate Animals

All uses of vertebrate animals must receive prior approval from the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). See also

Chemical Hazards

The laboratory use of hazardous chemicals is regulated by the OSHA Laboratory Standard (29 CFR 1910.1450).  Compliance entails training, development of Standard Operating Procedures, and implementation of a chemical hygiene program.  Training assistance in the form of a laboratory safety seminar, video lending library, and self-paced CD-ROM classes are available from the Office of Environmental Health and Safety.  The University Laboratory Chemical Hygiene Program can be downloaded from

Primary responsibility for maintain a safe research environment lies with the principal investigator.  Periodic laboratory safety assessments are invaluable tools in identifying safety strengths and weaknesses. 

An up-to-date inventory of chemicals found in each laboratory must be maintained as required by the University Occupational Safety and Health Program (UM1293) at

Human Blood, Tissues, Body Fluids, Cell Lines

All research utilizing human blood, body fluids, tissues, cell lines, and other potentially infectious materials must comply with the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard (29CFR 1910.1030).  This standard requires a laboratory-specific Exposure Control Plan, offering of hepatitis B vaccinations, and annual training.  Bloodborne pathogens training is available from Environmental Health and Safety.  A model exposure control plan that can be customized to individual work areas is available from Environmental Health and Safety at

Biological Agents, Stocks, and Cultures

The University's Biological Safety Program ( serves as policy for the possession, storage, and use of biological agents.  This program is designed around CDC/NIH guidelines and is considered to be a minimum standard of care.

Recombinant DNA Molecules

All research conducted at or sponsored by the University, irrespective of the source of funding, shall adhere to the recombinant DNA guidelines set forth by the most recent National Institutes of Health (NIH) Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules.

All recombinant DNA protocols must be submitted to Environmental Health and Safety using the registration form for recombinant DNA research. Those protocols requiring committee approval will be forwarded to the University Biosafety Committee.


The University's Radiation Safety Committee governs the possession and use of radioactive materials and other sources of ionizing radiation within the University.  Research personnel using radioactive materials are expected to be familiar with and operate within the policies and procedures outlined in the University Radiation Safety Program found at

Individual departments are responsible for maintaining the departments' radioactive materials licenses and for ensuring compliance with applicable rules and regulations.  Responsible users bear primary responsibility for the proper use and storage of radioactive materials and radiation-producing devices within their areas, including the execution of area surveys and recordkeeping requirements.

Environmental Health and Safety provides personnel dosimetry services and offers a radiation safety training program leading to certification as an authorized user. Dosimetry services can be initiated by contacting the Radiation Safety Officer.


Research personnel who may be exposed to class 2, class 3, and/or class 4 laser radiation are expected to familiarize themselves with and follow the requirements of ANSI Z136.6-2000 (Safe Use of Lasers).  A laser safety checklist is available at and can assist laboratories in meeting the requirements of this standard.

Hazardous Waste, Biological Waste, and Radioactive Waste

Each department is fully responsible for ensuring proper management and disposal of its chemical, biological, and radioactive waste streams.  Individual researchers are responsible for complying with applicable waste disposal laws/regulations and with University policy.

Chemical waste disposal requirements are outlined in the Guide to Hazardous Waste Management (

Biological waste disposal assistance is available from Environmental Health and Safety for departments that generate small volumes of biological waste.  Larger bio-waste generators must arrange for disposal through the University's medical waste contractor.

The University's radioactive waste disposal requirements can be found in the Radiation Safety Program at

Mixed wastes (radioactive waste combined with hazardous and/or infectious waste) are especially difficult to dispose of; therefore, every effort should be made to avoid creation of mixed wastes.  Personnel who consider implementation of protocols that generate mixed wastes should contact Environmental Health and Safety prior to beginning such programs. 

Shipping and Receiving Hazardous Materials

All University personnel who ship or otherwise impact the transportation of hazardous materials, including hazardous chemicals, biological agents, and radiological materials, must be trained and certified prior to engaging in such activities.  University policy regarding the shipment of hazardous materials can be found at

Select Agents and Toxins

Federal anti-terrorism laws and regulations restrict possession, use, and transfer of biological agents and toxins of high consequence.  Penalties of up to five (5) years imprisonment and/or $500,000 in fines may be levied on individuals and organizations found to be in violation.

All researchers anticipating the procurement, possession, use, transfer or destruction of select agents must contact Environmental Health and Safety prior to the event to ensure that applicable regulations are followed.  A complete list of CDC select agents can be found at

Laboratory Decommissioning

Any laboratory or other area where chemical, biological, or radiological materials have been used or stored must be decommissioned prior to closing.  Typically, decommissioning occurs prior to a researcher leaving the University, relocating to another laboratory space, renovation of a laboratory, or retirement of research pursuits.  Environmental Health and Safety should be contacted for guidance.   


Service - Consulting

Recognizing that the professional qualifications of faculty have great value in areas beyond normal University assignments and that services (to students, colleagues, and citizens of the surrounding areas) are enhanced by participation in activities beyond the campus, the University of Memphis encourages its faculty to undertake consulting and similar external employment for which they are qualified and that does not interfere with University responsibilities. Professional experiences beyond the classroom can contribute to the quality of instruction, increase professional competence and reputation, and bring credit to the University. By providing valuable services to a varied constituency, both public and private, faculty can help to create important links between the University and the area it serves. Although these services are encouraged within regulatory limits, it is not proper for a Univer­sity employee to provide private consulting services to external organizations when those services might be in conflict or competition with services offered by the University itself.

To comply with guidelines approved by the Tennessee Board of Regents, The University of Memphis has formulated a policy (UofM Policy No. 1490) that provides both encouragement and supervision for those engaged in outside employment. This policy does not apply to:

  • normal, short-term professional activities such as participation in symposia, accreditation visits, speaking engagements, exhibitions or recitals, even though honoria may be received for such participation; or
  • activities carried on outside the contract period term or while on leave from the University.

The term outside employment includes consulting and any other external activity for which there is remuneration. Prior to undertaking any outside employment, faculty will notify their department chair of the nature of the employment and the expected commitment of time. The chair will determine whether the proposed employment is consistent with the University of Memphis policies and the Tennessee Board of Regents as outlined below. If the decision is that the employment is inconsistent with these policies, a faculty member may appeal through the normal institutional channels for handling grievances.

  • Before faculty members begin outside employment they must obtain the written approval of the department chair and dean on a form (see attachment to UofM Policy No. 1490) that states the nature of the employment and the time required. If the chair does not approve the proposed employment, the faculty member may seek approval from the dean of the college. Further appeal may be made as outlined in the grievance procedures.
  • When seeking approval, faculty members should submit separate forms for each type of service requiring a major commitment of time. A similar service rendered to several clients may be shown on a single form if each client requires only a minor commitment of time, as in many instances of professional consulting, private lessons, tax preparation, etc.
  • University property and facilities (e.g., offices, equipment, telephones, computer services, etc.) may not be used in outside employment unless the use has been approved. If such arrangements are approved, compensation to the University may be required at rates established by the University. University titles, offices, addresses, and telephone numbers may not be used in city directories for the purpose of publicizing non-University interests.
  • The University cannot assume any responsibility for private consulting services entered into by members of its faculty or staff. Consultants must make clear to any employer the fact that the work to be performed has no official connection with the University.
  • Outside employment that involves other agencies of state government (including institu­tions of higher education) is subject to prior approval by both the president of the university , or a designee, and the appropriate representative of the other agency (see UofM Procedure No. UM 1490). In these cases, the two institutions will execute a dual services agreement. 
  • Outside employment must not result in any conflict of interest and must not interfere with any University teaching, research, or service assignments. If outside employment conflicts with a faculty member's teaching schedule, specific arrangements for the classes must be approved by the department chair. Teaching, research, or service assignments should not be made principally for the convenience of faculty (or staff) members wishing to engage in outside employment.
  • Administrative officers, including department chairs, may not employ (through outside consulting or business activities) or be employed by a faculty or staff member over whom they have direct supervision. Exceptions must be approved by the president or the administra­tive officer's immediate superior.

Centers of Excellence

The University of Memphis has been designated by the Tennessee Higher Education Com­mission as the location for centers of excellence in a number of areas. These units receive special funding by the State in recognition of their status.

Centers of Excellence

Center for Applied Psychological Research

Center for Earthquake Research and Information

Center for Research in Educational Policy

Center for Research Initiatives and Strategies for the Communicatively Impaired

Center of  Excellence in Eqyptian Art and Archaeology 

Appropriate Use of Information Technology Resources

For more information concerning appropriate use of the University's technological resources, please see University policy #UM1535 at

Last Updated: 9/27/12