1. “I am not presently debarred, suspended, proposed for debarment, declared ineligible, or voluntarily excluded from current transaction by a federal department or agency.”
As required by Executive Order 12549 and 12689, the federal government is prohibited from engaging in procurement relationships with organizations or their principals who are debarred or suspended from doing business with the federal government. Stevens complies with this requirement by means of certifications, one of which is required from any Principal Investigator (PI)/Co-PI (or participant) who submits a proposal (2 CFR 180.980). A recent Single Audit now requires that “Proposal Routing Forms,” signed by the PI and Co-PI(s) must be in OSP at the time the proposal is submitted to a federal or federal flow-through sponsor. Certification regarding debarment and suspension must be declared at the proposal stage. If the proposal is not submitted through OSP (a violation of SIT Policy 80.2) the university and the PI could be subject to penalties.
2. “I have not and will not lobby any federal agency on behalf of this award.”
As required by 31 USC 1352, no federal appropriate funds may be used to influence an officer or employee of Congress in Connection with the making of any federal grant, cooperative agreement, or contract. Funds other than federal funds that have been used to influence an officer or employee of any agency must be declared via completion of federal from “Disclosure of Lobbying Activities.” A detailed discussion of lobbying can be found on the OSP webpages in the document entitled “Federal Lobbying Regulations,” however, an abbreviated version is provided in this document as follows:
Lobbying activities include oral, written or electronic communications to a government official regarding:
a) formulation, modification, or adoption of federal legislation; b) administration or execution of a federal program or policy; c) formulation, modification, or adoption of a federal rule, regulation, Executive Order, policy or position of the U.S. government; d) nomination or confirmation of a person subject to confirmation by the Senate.
Lobbying activities do not include:
a) a speech, article, publication or other material that is distributed and made available to the public through a medium of mass communication; b) a request for a meeting, a request for the status of an action, or other similar administrative request; c) testimony given before Congress or submitted for inclusion in the public record; d) information provided in writing in response to an oral or written request, or in response to a request for public comments in the Federal Register; e) required by subpoena or civil investigative demand; f) written comment filed in the course of a public proceeding or made by the media if the purpose is gathering and disseminating news and information to the public.
3. “I am aware of and agree to abide by the Stevens’ “Drug Free Workplace Policy.”
The Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 (41 USC 8101-8106) requires some federal contractors (Stevens) and all federal grantees (Stevens) to agree that they will provide drug-free workplaces as a precondition of receiving a contract or grant from a federal agency. Stevens’ responsibility as a recipient is to notify employees that as a condition of employment on a federal contract or grant, the employee must a) abide by the terms of the policy statement; and b) notify the employer, within five (5) calendar days if he/she is convicted of a criminal drug violation in the workplace. See Stevens’ Drug-Free Workplace Policy on the Human Resources webpage.
4. “I have filed the annual certification and any required updates with my department/college under the SIT Policy of Conflict of Interest and agree to update the certification as needed and abide by this Policy.”
Stevens has developed and maintains Conflict of Interest Policies at 10.3.1 and 10.3.2 that the trustees, officers, faculty, staff, and others…avoid ethical, legal, financial, or any other actual or apparent conflicts of interest and ensure that their personal activities and interests to not conflict with their obligations to the Institute or its welfare. Stevens’ Faculty Handbook also contains information specific to conflicts of interest in government sponsored research. Additionally, in compliance with the requirements of 42 CFR 50 Subpart F, if this proposal is submitted to NIH/PHS/DHHS, a current “FCOI Disclosure Statement” must be on file with OSP or the proposal cannot be submitted.
5. “I agree to be bound by the terms and conditions of the external grant or contract which supports this proposal activity and, in consideration of the information and facilities made available to me by the University or the outside sponsor, to assign copyright and patent rights and observe the tenets of the “Stevens IP Policy” in accordance with the terms and conditions stated in the Faculty Handbook.”
Each sponsor has specific terms and conditions under which they award financial support for research. For example, some want material submitted in a specific format and some federal sponsors require prior approval for all material presented at conferences and meetings. OSP will perform a review of the award terms and conditions and note any special items on the “Sponsored Research Agreement (SRA).” The Stevens’ “Copyright Policy” is under revision and questions should be directed to the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
6. “I certify that the information submitted within the application is true, complete and accurate to the best of my knowledge and I understand that any false, fictitious, or fraudulent statements or claims may subject me to criminal, civil, or administrative penalties.”
As required by 31 USC 3729-3733, “…any person who knowingly presents, or causes to be presented, a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval; knowingly makes, uses, or causes to be made or used, a false record or statement material to a false or fraudulent claim; …knowingly makes, uses, or causes to be made or used, a false record or statement material to an obligation to pay or transmit money or property to the Government…is liable to the US Government of not less than $5,000…”
7. “I agree to accept responsibility for the scientific conduct of this proposal and to provide the required progress reports if an award is made as a result of the application.”
As required by 42 CFR 93 and 45 CFR 689, most federal agencies rely on NIH/PHS/DHHS and NSF’s codification regarding research misconduct in order to determine a circumstance of such misconduct. Although not exhaustive, research misconduct is considered to be fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research or in reporting research results. All recipients of federal funds engaged in scientific research must have policies and procedures in place to identify, deal with and report any circumstances of misconduct. Stevens’ “Policy on Research Misconduct” resides at 10.4 and 20.12 in the Policy Library
8. “I understand that any award that ensues as a result of this proposal is made to the University and not to me personally; however, I understand that I assume fiscal responsibility for any ensuing award as a result of this proposal.”
The OSP “Sponsored Projects Reference Manual” speaks to the ‘overall responsibility and delegation of authority’ at Section 8.2 where it states, “…at the Institute, the PI has overall responsibility for the technical and fiscal management of a sponsored project. This includes the management of the project within the funding limitations of the sponsored award…while responsibility…may be delegated to administrative staff, accountability for compliance…ultimately res with the PI.” It is important to understand that the primary relationship between the sponsor and the university places the burden of primary responsibility on the university to provide ‘systems’ and processes adequate to project management; however, the institution has delegated overall responsibility for the management and reconciliation of project accounts on the PI, or his/her designee. In the event of willful or knowing fraud and/or mismanagement of project funds, the federal government will also seek relief from the individual PI under the province of 31 USC 3729-3733 (the False Claims Act) as discussed in #6 above.