Research Compliance

Guide to Research at USC

Guide to Research at USC – Fall 2022

Sponsored research plays a significant role in the life of our university community.  Funded by an array of private and government sources, this research presents USC with the opportunity to contribute to global knowledge and discovery across every realm of human endeavor.

In recent years, the regulatory burdens associated with the conduct of sponsored research have grown significantly.  The Research Compliance program is an important resource in helping you implement and adhere to the broad range of university policies and state and federal regulations related to the conduct of sponsored research.

Our Services

Our priority is to help the USC research community act as a responsible steward of federal and private research support.  Our services include:

  • Providing guidance and facilitating solutions regarding research administration and compliance issues.
  • Tracking new federal and state laws and regulations that may impact the research community.
  • Partnering with the research community to develop new policies and guidance in emerging areas of risk relevant to researchers and research administrators.
  • Offering education to assist researchers and administrators in following the rules and regulations related to the conduct and administration of research.
  • Promoting scientific integrity by providing education, guidance, and oversight on issues like conflict of interest and ethical behavior in the proposal, conduct, and reporting of research.
  • Monitoring and auditing research compliance activity in partnership with Audit Services.
  • Providing faculty and staff the ability to report concerns confidentially, and investigating as appropriate.

Specific areas of expertise include, among others:

  • Conflicts of Interest related to research
  • Sponsor-specific compliance requirements
  • Scientific integrity issues, including scientific misconduct, data management, and authorship
  • Export controls (including compliance with ITAR, EAR, and OFAC)
  • Regulations regarding financial management of sponsored research, such as effort reporting, charging of administrative and clerical salaries and other expenses, recharge centers, and issues involving Institutional Base Salary
  • Research ethics training requirements and offerings

When Might You Call?

We are available to address concerns that may arise related to the conduct and/or administration of your research.  We provide answers to questions like:

  • I have a consulting relationship with an outside company.  Does my consulting relationship create a conflict of interest with research I am performing at USC?
  • A sponsor has informed me that it will not let me share my research results unless I obtain its approval first.  What should I do?
  • I am a principal investigator and have been unable to replicate results obtained by a former postdoc in my lab.  I plan to publish an article on my research and I don’t know what to do.  Can you help?
  • What resources exist at USC to assist me in educating myself and my staff regarding the fiscal management of grant funds?
  • Can I send a software prototype to a research collaborator outside the United States?

Effort Reporting

Faculty and research staff are responsible for reporting and certifying percentage effort charged to a sponsored project in a timely manner.  Certification includes making corrections and adjustments if there are differences between estimates and actual effort.  All twelve-month faculty and exempt employees must certify their effort quarterly, while all nine-month faculty must certify their effort once each semester.

Additional Information