Research Compliance

Guide to Research at USC – Winter 2024

Research Compliance Vision Statement

USC strives to have an outstanding ethics and compliance program that acts to support a culture where making decisions consistent with unifying values, doing the right thing, and complying with policies, laws and regulations are the expected and everyday courses of action. The ultimate goal is to support USC’s mission of educating students, creating new knowledge through research and artistic endeavors, and providing excellent patient care.

The research compliance program at USC supports these goals by promoting ethical and transparent decision-making through partnering with the research community to provide risk-based guidance and realistic solutions designed to promote ethical decision-making that adheres to the wide-ranging responsibilities we assume as recipients and stewards of sponsor support.

These solutions include:

  • Developing clear and understandable policies
  • Offering specific and actionable education and training
  • Undertaking continuous risk assessment
  • Performing regular monitoring; and
  • Actively engaging with researchers and key administrative stakeholders to support the full range of research activity at USC.

Of equal importance, the research compliance program actively partners with university stakeholders to promote transparency and thought leadership in advancing ethical decision-making in the conduct of research even in the absence of clear legal, regulatory, or policy mandates.

In so doing, the research compliance program acts as a key partner to support the continued growth and expansion of USC’s world-class research enterprise.

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)
  • Cybersecurity
  • International Research Relationships
  • 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?
  • I have research with cybersecurity implications.  What should I do?
  • I have a research relationship with an international entity.  What should I do?