Skip to main content

Secondary navigation:

Research at Boston College

University Research and Projects Policy

SUMMARY: This policy sets forth the general principles which govern the conduct of research and other projects and determine the criteria for the acceptance of sponsored project funding.

This policy pertains to all research and projects conducted under the auspices of Boston College whether or not funded by an external sponsor. For sponsored research and projects, this policy applies irrespective of the type of sponsor (government, industry, foundation, etc.)

Society depends on universities to extend the boundaries of knowledge. Boston College, therefore, has a commitment to support productive scholarship which contributes to that end. This commitment includes support of creative work in the arts, humanities, social and natural sciences, and generally of research related to societal good.

Those who are engaged in scholarly investigation should be objective in determining subject matter and obtaining conclusions of their research and not be committed to a particular course of action or end result. Consequently, Boston College is obliged to provide an atmosphere for conducting such research.

The University Research Council was formed to clarify the place of research in the University, to provide optimal conditions for obtaining research support, to facilitate the fulfillment of the research commitments of the University, and to help in integrating research and educational endeavors.

The individual scholar retains the right to determine the subject matter of the research and is solely responsible for the conclusions reached as a result of the research. The methods of research, however, are subject to limitation where they might, for example, injure human health, invade personal privacy, or interfere with the freedom of research of others by preempting space, facilities, or other resources.

Principles of Administration

  1. Research activities supported with funds administered or supplied by Boston College will be:
    1. Such as may reasonably be expected to contribute to the advancement of knowledge.
    2. Related to the ongoing educational activities of the departments, institutes and schools, and consistent with their goals and capabilities as with those of the University.
    3. Planned in such a way that they do not exceed the capabilities of available facilities or resources or detract from, or limit, the effectiveness of any of the University's academic programs, as determined by the appropriate Dean or Department Chair.
    4. Based on a plan sponsored by a faculty member, which is regarded worthy of the effort.
    5. Planned and conducted in such a way that the maximum possible educational involvement of students under faculty supervision is achieved.
    6. Such that the investigators concerned have full freedom to conduct their inquiries and arrive at and publish their findings in accordance with their professional judgment. The University shall accept no sponsored agreement that prohibits, delays more than a minimal amount of time, or in any way diminishes an investigator's right to publish, disseminate, or otherwise disclose the results of his or her work.
  2. Classified research which requires a security clearance by any public or private agency will not be conducted under Boston College's auspices, except perhaps in time of national emergency. Even though there may be no classification or confidentiality restrictions upon the execution of a sponsored agreement, sponsored funding may not be accepted by the University if there is a high probability or certainty that a faculty member's work will later be covered by classification or confidentiality restrictions.
  3. Particular care shall be used in negotiating the terms of sponsored agreements as well as in performing work (sponsored or not) that includes the use of students. Research, the results of which cannot be made public or in any other way negatively affects a student's ability to freely discuss his or her work, shall not be used as the basis of a thesis or dissertation. Students, like faculty investigators will be bound by the need to maintain the confidentiality of personally-identifying data and information generated or collected in the course of the project.
  4. Proposals and awards for activities supported by external sponsors must have advance sanction by the appropriate responsible University officials, including the Department Chair, Dean, Academic Vice President (under certain conditions) and an authorized University signatory as provided in Section VIII.A.1 of the University's Financial and Accounting Policies and Procedures.
  5. The source of sponsorship and purpose of a sponsored activity must be of such a nature that they can be publicly disclosed.
  6. All research or other projects involving human subjects, animal subjects, and/or hazardous or potentially hazardous biological, chemical, or radiological agents must be conducted in accordance with the guidelines, policies, and procedures as may be established by the University for such work.