The mission of the Office of the Vice President for Research is to provide oversight of the research enterprise at Brown with a goal of promoting and supporting faculty research, ensuring University compliance with Federal and local policies and regulations, identifying transferable intellectual property, and identifying potential external and internal research collaborations.
The Office of the Vice President for Research offers resources to Brown researchers in all academic disciplines. A major responsibility of the Office is to ensure that University researchers are provided with an integrated research administration and compliance infrastructure and to initiate and facilitate research enterprises. Supporting offices provide comprehensive services that include pre- and post-award funding support (through the Office of Sponsored Projects, located in the Brown Office Building) guidance regarding the ethical and appropriate use of humans and animals in research (through the Research Protections Office), and intellectual property protection and commercialization services (through the Technology Ventures Office).
The Research Advisory Board is the faculty advisory committee that counsels the Vice President for Research, and his executive staff, regarding research policies, procedures, and initiatives. The Research Advisory Board collaborates and works in unison with several University offices and governing bodies in order to enact the most appropriate and effective research policies and procedures at all levels. The Board's membership represents the wide range of research fields throughout the University and meets once a month during the academic year.
20.3.1 Office of Sponsored Projects
The Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP) provides assistance to faculty and staff in ensuring that research complies with institutional and federal standards, beginning with proposal preparation and review, award negotiation, and extending throughout the performance of the research and into evaluation and reporting of research project results, expenditures, and intellectual property. OSP is responsible for implementing the policies and procedures of the University as they apply to sponsored projects as well as assuring compliance with the terms and conditions of grants and contracts. OSP is the primary link with academic and research units in day-to-day research administration, e.g., proposal and budget preparation, contract negotiation, post award administration, and compliance with federal regulations. It also provides access to external funding opportunities for research projects.
20.3.2 Research Protections Office
Any researcher who wishes to work with human participants or animal subjects must submit a protocol for approval by the appropriate University oversight committee prior to beginning such a project. The Institutional Review Board (IRB) reviews protocols for research involving human participants, and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) reviews protocols for research involving animals. The Research Protections Office (RPO) staff provides administrative support and information to researchers in the process of preparing protocols for presentation to the IRB or IACUC.
20.3.3 Biomed Research Administration
The Biomed Research Administration (BMRA) office works with researchers from Brown’s Division of Biology and Medicine to assist with pre-award and post-award needs. Pre-award management provides information on sources of support and funding; assists faculty with application submission; and assures compliance with University and federal regulations, as well as sponsors' policies and requirements. Pre-award staff also communicate with the Brown biomedical research community to clarify University policies and procedures for faculty and sponsors.
Post-award management is responsible for overseeing the financial management of sponsored programs. The staff maintains accounting records and reports and assures compliance with University and sponsors’ financial provisions. In the event of an audit, post-award management also assists with resolution.
20.3.4 Research Compliance
Research compliance encompasses a wide variety of issues including human subjects in research; use of animals; conflicts of interest; misconduct in research; authorship decisions; mentoring; access to and retention of data; export control; and environmental health and safety. Identifying and managing compliance concerns in any given research project can be difficult, but research administration staff can help to clarify University, Federal, and specificagency policies.
The Research Compliance Network (RCN), a collaboration of Brown University staff with responsibility for regulatory and policy compliance across the campus has been assembled to develop a coherent approach to assuring compliance throughout the University’s research environment.
20.3.5. Resources for Postdoctoral Researchers
A report by the Ad Hoc Committee on Postdoctoral Researchers made recommendations for significantly increased resources and benefits for postdocs at Brown. Career and professional development programs, mentoring, and improved distribution of information relevant to Brown’s postdoctoral researcher community are some of the developments on the horizon.
TVO exists to fulfill a number of interlocking and mutually dependent activities associated with the commercialization of intellectual property created by faculty and students at Brown, at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA, and at the Women and Infants Hospital of Rhode Island. These activities involve:
- Identifying and protecting intellectual property, primarily inventions which may be patented but also include copyrights;
- Negotiating and maintaining licenses for intellectual property with existing companies and/or creating start-up companies;
- Developing industrial relationships and stimulating collaborative research;
- Complying with regulations and policies of the federal government and other research sponsors pertaining to the management of intellectual property;
- Supporting Brown portfolio companies;
- Overseeing the exchange of research materials between Brown and other institutions;
- Providing a focal point for new high-technology ventures involving the academic community and emerging areas of opportunity in evolving research fields; and
- Building partnerships based on the research enterprise to serve the broader community.