Pitt Research
Office of Research Protections

Rebecca Keiser Discusses Research Security: Past, Present, and Future

On October 10, Dr. Rebecca Keiser, Chief of Research Security Strategy and Policy for the National Science Foundation (NSF), led a seminar—and several ancillary presentations—related to research security. While acknowledging the need for international collaboration, she cautioned that some foreign governments have sought to benefit from intellectual property obtained nefariously from the United States.

To address these concerns, a Presidential memorandum (National Security Presidential Memorandum-33, NSPM 33) was released in 2021, and related Guidance for Implementation was released in 2022.  Research security requirements are also stipulated in the recently enacted CHIPS and Science Act (CHIPS Act).

Watch Dr. Keiser’s full seminar here >>

Forthcoming research security requirements include:

  • A common disclosure form (biosketch and other support) for all major funding agencies, and reiteration that all sources of support and all appointments must be disclosed. The form is currently available for public comment. Investigators will be identified through a unique identifier, likely ORCID.
  • A requirement that institutions develop research security programs that include: research security training and travel review, as well as export control and cybersecurity measures. Guidance will be posted for public comment by the end of the year.
  • Prohibition of federal funding to institutions with Confucius Institutes or Confucius-like institutes, although a waiver process is in development.
  • Prohibition against investigators participating in malign foreign talent programs.

Thanks for your Assistance during the AAALAC Site Visit

AAALAC International conducted a site visit of the University’s animal care and use program on October 10-13. AAALAC International is a private, nonprofit organization that promotes humane treatment of animals in science through a voluntary accreditation program. AAALAC International accreditation is recognized around the world as a symbol of high-quality animal care and use for research, teaching and testing, as well as promoting animal welfare.

ORP is appreciative of the many University members who gave their time and provided information to the site visitors.

The preliminary feedback from the site visitors was very positive, and they complimented the strong institutional support for the animal care program and our exemplary staff. They also recognized our strong enrichment program for animals.

The final site visit report will be provided in early 2023. However, the site visitors predict that there will be no mandatory items for correction to retain full AAALAC accreditation.

Conflict of Interest Training Reminder

As a reminder, all investigators are required to complete the University’s conflict of interest (COI) training on appointment. This includes trainees and other current University personnel who transition to the investigator role. Investigators who are externally funded must renew their training every four years. More information and a link to the required CITI COI Training is available here.

An investigator is an individual who is independently responsible for, or significantly influences, the design, conduct, outcome, or reporting of University research. Note that those who work in laboratories but are closely supervised, such as technicians and undergraduate students, likely do not have the independence to meet the COI definition of investigator.

Only a principal investigator can determine who in their lab meets the definition of investigator. Thus, at the time of an award and when a new investigator is added to a project, the CITI COI Training Table form (found under Research-Related Forms on this page) must be completed and uploaded in MyFunding. This table is used to confirm that all who meet the definition of investigator have completed required training.

Any questions about the COI training requirement, investigator criteria, or the CITI COI Training Table form should be directed to ORP’s Conflict of Interest Division at MyDisclosures_Support@pitt.edu.

Submitting a Grant? Make Sure you have Submitted a Disclosure

Federal regulations require that a COI disclosure be filed prior to submitting a grant application. Typically, a disclosure is automatically created for a faculty member when they are entered into the payroll system. However, those who are submitting a grant through Pitt prior to their employment must have a disclosure created manually.  In addition, trainees who are submitting a fellowship application and who have not disclosed in the past must have a COI disclosure created manually.

To request the manual creation of a disclosure, please complete this web form.  Plan ahead, and file your disclosure well ahead of your grant deadline, as it can take time for our staff to process the many requests we receive near these deadlines.

Federal funding agencies are increasingly scrutinizing the disclosure of external appointments and external resources for conducting a research project.  Please ensure that the information provided in a grant application matches the information that is disclosed in MyDisclosures.

Signatory/Institutional Officials for the University

A Signing Official or Institutional Official is a designated individual who has been formally granted institutional authority to legally bind the institution in research matters. Researchers and staff members lack legal Signing Official authority to sign on behalf of the University, and if they sign agreements on behalf of Pitt, the researcher or staff member could be subjected to legal and financial risks.

There are two designated Institutional Officials granted this authority. The University's Office of Sponsored Programs is designated as the office to enter into research grants, contracts, and agreements on behalf of the University’s faculty, including non-financial research agreements such as material transfer agreements (MTAs), confidential disclosure agreements (CDAs), and data use agreements (DUAs). The Institutional Signature Authority for the Office of Sponsored Programs is Jennifer E. Woodward, PhD, Vice Chancellor for Sponsored Programs and Research Operations.

ORP provides oversight for animal and human subject research.  The Institutional Signature Authority for the Office of Research Protections is Bill J. Yates, PhD, Vice Chancellor for Research Protections. He is the signatory for IRB Reliance Agreements, along with any other human subject research certifications, as well as Interinstitutional Assurance Agreements for animal research.

Other types of documents must be signed by other individuals.  For example, Office of Trade Compliance Director Allen DiPalma is the  Institution’s Empowered Official for export control matters, and also signs Visitor Agreements.

Please ensure that you route documents to the correct office for signature.

New IACUC Policies Page

The IACUC policy, SOP and guidelines web page has been updated to provide researchers easier access to documents relating to animal care and use at the University.

Along with a search feature, a browsable A-Z index is available with a brief description of the documents' content. Any questions related to this update can be directed to iacuc@pitt.edu.

Accolades for the University’s Radiation Safety Program

Six inspectors from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection completed a review of the University’s radiation safety program on October 24-26.  They had high praise for safety practices and training procedures in place.


United Way Campaign

No one organization brings together all the essential players to make real change possible like United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania. They've built a strong network of community leaders, corporations, donors, philanthropists and human-service agencies, marshalling the resources and experience where they can do the most good.

Whether you're joining our Pitt Research United Way Team in one of our events or through our Pitt United Way website, please consider donating! #ChangemakersUnite

ORP Support Service

Need help in ensuring that your research meets regulatory requirements and ethical standards?

Then use the ORP Support Service!

Just answer a few questions and we will put you in touch with the right professionals to help facilitate your research.

Roc the Panther

Learn More About How ORP Can Support You >

Roc the Panther

View Upcoming ORP Events >

University of Pittsburgh