SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH PROJECTS REGULATION
ARTICLE 1: OBJECTIVE
The objective of this regulation is to regulate the research project development, application and management processes at Hena e Plote Beder University (hereafter referred to as the University).
ARTICLE 2: SCOPE
This regulation covers all individuals at the University, including full- and part-time faculty, visiting faculty, full-and part-time employees (staff) and fellows (pre- and post-doctoral), whether or not they receive all or any part of their salary or other compensation from the University.
ARTICLE 3: REFERENCES
This regulation has been prepared with referance to the articles 3, 69, 70 and 71 of Albanian Higher Education Law passed on the date May 21st 2007
ARTICLE 4: GUIDING PRINCIPLES AND RIGHTS
The expansion of knowledge and its dissemination through research and scholarly studies are integral to the University's mission as an educational institution. Accordingly, members of the faculty are encouraged and are expected to undertake fundamental research of interest to them and, where available, to seek support for their studies from any source, provided that any source of funding and any terms imposed by that source comply with University policies and procedures and state laws. In the conduct of such research, project managers shall
- follow the high ethical and professional standards befitting an academic setting,
- provide for the health and safety of students, research and support staff,
- provide for the health and safety of human subjects in research and safeguard their privacy,
- comply with University policies, governmental laws and regulations, and terms of sponsors' agreements, and
- disseminate their results and conclusions in keeping with the principles of academic freedom and openness in research.
ARTICLE 5: DEFINITIONS AND DIVISION
Research Projects Commission: The role of the commission is to evaluate research project proposals and submit to the approval of university administrative board. The commission is appointed by the university Administrative Board. Head of Research Projects Commission is the Director of the Office of Research.
The Research Projects Commission may establish sub-commissions as required to facilitate the working of the commission. In doing so it may benefit from the services of the teaching staff and administrative personnel when necessary. The Commission’s decisions become effective only after the approval of the University Administrative Board.
Project Manager: Beder University faculty member/employee who is primarily responsible in the first degree for the execution of the research project funded by any internal/external source. Only full time faculty members are eligible to serve as project managers. Any exceptions to the above require the prior written approval of the Office of Research.
Office of Research: The office is established to oversee and supervise overall research activities at the university. Research office supervises the research projects application and management process and makes necessary strategic planning for the progress of the research function of the university.
Director of Office of Research: Director of the Office of Research is appointed by the Rector and holds at least a Ph.D or equivalent degree in Humanities and social Sciences or other fields related to the work of the University.
ARTICLE 6: RESPONSIBILITIES
Research Projects Commission: The Commission is primarily tasked with providing internal (within the university) peer review of all research proposals submitted for approval and funding. The commission shall ensure that research proposals meet internationally recognized quality standards.
The Commission also advises University Administrative Board in matters of advancing research, research infrastructure, and initiatives and innovation that promote research at the University.
The duties and responsibilities of Research Projects Commission are,
- assuring the quality of research activities and promoting research, research education and scholarship within the University;
- implementing and administering initiatives and funds to promote research activities
- approval, acceptance and disposal of funds for the materialization of research projects
- reviewing progress and final reports (inclusive of financial reports) of all research grants and projects.
Office of Research: The Office of Research establishes and administers the policies governing the conduct of research at Hena e Plote Beder University and oversees the management of its research programs. Office of Research seeks to improve University’s research productivity and expand the impact of its academic discoveries on both scholars and the community.
Director of Office of Research: Director of Research leads and oversees the prospect and research function of the university; supervises the Office of Research staff at the University.
Duties and Responsibilities of the Director of Office of Research are,
- Maintaining an overall knowledge of the University’s top prospects to assist university administration in developing appropriate strategies in research
- Consulting with faculty, directors, department heads to identify areas of research interest and to develop research agendas
- Ensuring adherence to professional standards and ethics of research
- Developing and overseeing policies and procedures for the Research Office
- Maintaining an awareness of the goals and accomplishments of the University
The Project Manager: Project managers are responsible for the supervision of the whole research process, including research project design, preparing funding applications, the design of experimental or research protocols, data recording, data analysis and publication and dissemination of results. The project leader is also responsible for the appointment of suitably qualified research assistants and supervision of the research assistants in the course of the research.
Project manager have the primary responsibility to ensure that students, research staff and any visiting scholars receive the appropriate instruction and mentorship necessary to participate in the responsible conduct of research. This instruction should include, but not be limited to, the proper recording and storage of data, the use and care of equipment, as well as issues regarding conflicts of interest, research ethics and scientific misconduct. Project managers shall also inform their research staff and students of those University policies and procedures that may impact their research projects such as those on purchasing, travel, and intellectual property.
The Faculty and Departments: In supporting sponsored research activities by its faculty and research staff, faculties and departments assume certain responsibilities. The department chairs’ approval of a project proposal certifies to the following:
- compliance with existing University and departmental policies,
- scholarly merit of the project,
- the competence of the project manager in the area of research,
- the ability of the project manager to successfully manage the proposed research project,
- that, to the extent possible, the research project relates to the academic objectives of the department and provides opportunities for graduate and/or undergraduate education or research training,
- the capability of the department to provide necessary administrative support (personnel and supplies),
- the availability of university and department space, facilities, and equipment to fulfill project needs,
- any additional information technology resources needed for the project have been identified and communicated to the appropriate university office,
- the adequacy of the budget and the determination of the department to prevent cost overruns,
- the project will be conducted with appropriate management and oversight.
The University: The University affirms its role in working with project managers, departments and faculties to provide the resources, infrastructure and facilities necessary to support a strong program of research, subject to its strategic academic priorities and financial capabilities.
ARTICLE 7: RESEARCH GRANTS/FUNDS
Research grants are allocated to faculty members on the basis of merit and are designed to initiate new research projects. Such research should not continue to rely upon university research grants as their principal sources of funding. Instead, such researchers are expected to access grants from non-university sources, such as international government, corporate or private grant sources.
Research grants are open to full time faculty and part time faculty who have a strong commitment to research and a reasonable expectation of continued employment at the University.
University research grants are normally for a duration of one to two years. Funding allocations may also be set aside for special research projects as identified by the Rectorate.
These grants are mainly for the support of primary data collection, such as survey and research traveling expenses, research consumables, experimental material supplies, remuneration for research assistants, specialised software, hardware maintenance, rentals and etc.
Publications resulting from research supported by the University Research grants must include the name of university in the author's address and acknowledge the support of the University.
The University actively encourages researchers to access external research grants, whether from official government sources, commercial/corporate funding, research trusts from other academic institutions in the form of individual or joint institutional research projects. Such external grants reflect external recognition of research competence and enhance both the researcher’s reputation and the University’s research standing.
ARTICLE 8: PRINCIPLES
The project application process at the University is carried out by the Office of Research. Office of research shall handle project application, evaluation, contracting, budgeting and managemet processes according to Research Projects Procedures and Research Projects Management Procedures set by university Administrative Board.
Office of Research shall examine the project agreements and arrange for the signing of agreements by giving due care to their compliance with the university's general practices, customs of law and the project proposal as well as to the compliance of intellectual property rights with the university policy.
ARTICLE 9: METHOD
Project applications undergo two processes before being approved and finalized by the funding institution; namely project application and contract negotiation process.
Project Application Process:
The applicant who has a project idea and/or is planning to file a project application with a specific funding source shall inform the relevant specialist at the Office of Research.
In the project application process, the relevant specialist shall work in coordination with the contact point in the funding institution in issues regarding the project application.
The project evaluation process shall be monitored by the Office of Research and the result shall be reported to the applicant. If the funding institution notifies the applicant of the result, the latter shall be obliged to share with the Office of Research the result and project evaluation report.
Contract Negotiation Process:
In the event a proposal is funded, the University, not the project manager, assumes responsibility for negotiating and formally accepting agreements from external sponsors. This will help ensure that all legal requirements incumbent upon the University in the application and acceptance of outside funding are carefully reviewed and appropriately acknowledged and that University policies and procedures are consistently and reasonably applied and followed. Some agreements are issued on a unilateral basis and require no negotiations or signatures from the University except under unusual circumstances. Award negotiations are the responsibility of the Office of Research under the overall supervision of the Rector. Except for rare instances, agreements with sponsors are executed between the University (not the project manager) and the sponsor. In accepting these legally binding agreements, the University becomes the grantee or the contractor. The project manager becomes responsible for the technical work, fiscal oversight, and the overall management of the project, and he/she is obligated, together with the University, to comply with all terms of the agreement.
Regarding the conformity of the agreement, the approval of the project manager and director of Office of Research shall be taken.
Every external grant or contract for research projects accepted by the University must include an allowance for University overhead at a rate of 15% of direct costs.
The research project agreement shall undergo the necessary signature process based on the nature of the agreement.
The agreement signed by all parties shall be scanned and stored in the Office of Research database, with the original kept in the project file.
The application form signed and/or sealed forms and documents sent to the funding institution shall also be retained by the Office of Research.
The official acceptance of awards from external sponsors is done by the Office of Research. Signature authority with regard to all research contracts rests with the Rector. Signature authority may be delegated to the Director of the Office of Research. Project managers are prohibited from signing external research agreements.
It is highly important for researchers to clarify at the outset of any research project the ownership of intellectual property right of researchers. This is especially important when research is undertaken for government agencies and corporate sponsors in the form of research consultancies.
The grant/contract period begins on the effective date of the agreement and runs for the length of time indicated on the award document. Expenditures incurred prior to the effective date of the grant/contract may not be charged against the project account unless specifically authorized in the award document or approval has been received by the sponsor or by other means (i.e., expanded authorities granted by state agencies). No expenditures may be made after the scheduled expiration date of the agreement unless approved by the sponsor.
It is the ultimate responsibility of the project manager to ensure that all charges to an externally-funded project are made in accordance with the terms and conditions of the award, including the approved budget, and in accordance with the relevant policies of the University.
ARTICLE 11: PROJECT MANAGEMENT
The Office of Research, Finance and Accounting Office, Human Resources Office (HR) shall take necessary steps to develop and implement best practices for research management.
Project manager shall comply with the procedures and codes of practice adopted by the funding agency and the University during the course of the project.
Project managers are responsible for ensuring that all the required information and documents are supplied and submitted to relevant authorities in an accurate and timely manner. Project managers are expected to follow the deadlines for reports, overall budget balance and plan the expenditures accordingly. All the reports must be reviewed and signed by the project managers before they are submitted.
Project managers are responsible for generating an annual research report which is submitted to the Research Projects Commission. The Office of Research is responsible for collating all such approved reports in a University Annual Research Report for circulation throughout the University and the public. Such a report informs the public about research in the University and promotes the pursuit of research excellence. Publication of detailed annual research income and expenditure also allows for transparency and accountability of all research funds.
In cases where funds in the budget are not sufficient, the project manager may contact OR to request increase in the project budget. This request shall be submitted to the review and approval of Research Projects Commission. If the commission approves the increase the project manager and Finance and Accounting Office shall be inform the about the decision of the commission by OR. Following this, the Finance and Accounting Office shall start the related process.
ARTICLE 12: CONTRACT CLOSEOUT
It is the responsibility of the project manager to ensure that all periodic and final technical reports are transmitted to the sponsor in accordance with the terms of the award. Failure to submit reports on a timely basis may result in action by the University against the project manager, including ineligibility to submit any future proposals for sponsored research until all delinquent reports have been submitted and accepted by a sponsor.
The University, through the Office of Research is responsible for submitting all the scientific and financial reports. The project manager shall work with, and provide the necessary information to the Office of Research to ensure the timely and accurate submission of all reports.
Researchers are obliged to complete all assigned, and agreed upon research, and to publish findings of such research as widely as possible. In particular, with regards to research supported by funds from the University. The University expects a return from the recipients of the funding. As such, researchers are obliged to generate output from the research conducted. The University on its part is obliged to support and assist researchers in meeting all their research obligations.
Researchers are expected to publish or exhibit the findings of their research with full responsibility and with an awareness of the consequences of any such dissemination in the public realm. As far as possible, publication of research should be current and of high quality. Ideally, there should be a minimum amount of delay between the end of any research and submission for publication of its findings. Any delay in submission for publication of research findings should not, normally, exceed a period of 12 months.
Researchers should be guided by the following points when publishing or disseminating their research or research findings in publications, conferences or on websites:
- Researchers should make every effort to ensure that their research or research findings are peer reviewed before it is published, publicized or disseminated. If research is placed in the public realm before any peer review has been undertaken, this must be made clear by the researcher;
- Researchers should acknowledge all fellow research collaborators and all sources of funding openly in any publication or publicity.
ARTICLE 13: MISCONDUCT
In cases of research misconduct, there may be grounds for disciplinary action against staff or students.
All complaints of alleged research misconduct shall be reported first to the appropriate Dean of the Faculty. Unsigned, anonymous allegations will not be acted upon. It is the responsibility of Dean of Faculty to inform the Director of the Office of Research about the complaint. Such reports or complaints shall be filed in writing. Unsigned, anonymous allegations will not be acted upon.
Any action involving investigation, arbitration and decision on the complaint shall be undertaken in accordance with university staff disciplinary procedures (where applicable, student disciplinary procedures).
ARTICLE 14: ENTRY INTO FORCE
This Regulation shall enter into force upon the approval of the university Administrative Board.
ARTICLE 15: EXECUTION
The provisions of this Regulation shall be implemented and enforced by the Rector of Hena e Plote the University.