Two offices will reorganize to form new research ethics office

Effective July 1, the office of the vice president for research will debut a new office of research ethics (ORE). The change merges its former office for responsible research (ORR) and office of research integrity (ORI).

Until this point, the two research offices functioned collaboratively but independently to oversee university research operations. As a single unit, it will represent all research ethics activities to better serve the campus community and ensure ethical research. Staff will remain in the second floor of the Kingland Building.

"By combining these units, we will create a one-stop-shop for researchers to assist in meeting the ethics and security aspects of carrying out their research," said Jerry Zamzow, assistant vice president for research. "Implementing this organizational change will allow researchers across campus to more easily navigate the myriad institutional, state, and federal policies and regulations.

"This restructuring also will provide the office of the vice president for research an opportunity to provide more wholistic messaging around responsibilities associated with ethical conduct of research" he said.

Functions and leadership

The new ORE will include all components of research regulation and policy administration, including:

  • Training and prevention programs
  • Compliance activities for human subjects, animals, biohazards, radiation safety, conflicts of interest and commitment
  • Export controls
  • Unmanned aircraft systems
  • Foreign influence
  • Research integrity

Sarah Kaatz, director of ORR, will lead the new unit. Brooke Langlitz, director of ORI, will serve as associate director. Individual points of contact university researchers may have previously engaged with will not change.

"Our vision is that this change will streamline all programmatic aspects of administering regulations and policies that pertain to the conduct of research," Kaatz said. "The reorganization provides increased clarity for Iowa State researchers to ensure they are aware of and complying with non-financial regulations for conducting research."

Full-time research integrity officer

In addition to combining the functions and staffs of the two existing units, the office also will serve as the administrative home for the university's new research integrity officer. Since 2017, associate vice president for research Guru Rao has fulfilled this role in a part-time capacity. The position has been restructured as a full-time role dedicated to handling allegations of research misconduct on campus. A search process to fill the position is underway.

A new website will be developed for the ORE in the coming weeks. In the interim, information regarding compliance matters and ethical research practices can be found on the existing ORR and ORI websites.