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The Office of Grants & Foundation Relations is responsible for ensuring that faculty, staff, and students involved with federal grants comply with all necessary federal regulations.


Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI) Policy for Externally Funded Research 

This Policy and Training Plan cover financial conflicts that may arise as a result of federally funded research. All Principal Investigators must fill out this FCOI disclosure form 1) prior to proposal submission and 2) annually. In addition, they must complete FCOI training every four years.

Responsible and Ethical Conduct of Research (RECR) Policy and Training Requirements

Many federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, require grantees to certify that they have received training in the responsible and ethical conduct of research (RECR).

Students, technicians, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty who are conducting federally funded research on the Whitman campus must complete RECR training using the online CITI program. Such training must include mentor training and mentorship.

Procedure for Handling Cases of Research Misconduct

Whitman College is committed to maintaining high standards of integrity in research and scholarship, whether funded by external grants or not. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requires that institutions have a written policy on research misconduct in order to be eligible for research funding. While there is less than total unanimity on what constitutes misconduct in research, the categories of fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, and “other serious deviations” that appear in the annual HHS questionnaire are sufficient to cover the full range. Anyone who suspects possible research misconduct should report it to his/her supervisor.

Effort Reporting Policy

Effort reporting is a process mandated by the federal government to verify that direct labor charges to, or cost shared on, sponsored projects are accurate, timely, and reflect the actual level of work performed. Government sponsors expect to pay only for those portions of employee effort that are actually devoted to their projects.

Whitman College uses an “after-the-fact” reporting system comprised of three reporting periods (January-April, May-August, September-December). Effort Reporting forms are required for each period an employee is paid by a federal or federal pass-through (subaward) grant or has included salary match as part of a federal grant award.

NSF/NIH Sexual Harassment Policy

This Policy ensures that Whitman College is in compliance with the sexual harassment guidelines and reporting procedures for Principal Investigators and Co-Principal Investigators on NSF and NIH grants.

NSF Safe and Inclusive Working Environments for Off-Campus or Off-Site Research

It is NSF policy to foster safe and harassment-free environments wherever science is conducted.  NSF’s policy recognizes that a community effort is essential to eliminate sexual and other forms of harassment in science and to build inclusive scientific climates where people can learn, grow, and thrive. Accordingly, for each proposal that proposes to conduct research off-campus or off site (such as fieldwork and research activities on vessels and aircraft), the AOR must complete a certification that the organization has a plan in place for that proposal that describes how the following types of behavior will be addressed:

  1. Abuse of any person, including, but not limited to, harassment, stalking, bullying, or hazing of any kind, whether the behavior is carried out verbally, physically, electronically, or in written form; or
  2. Conduct that is unwelcome, offensive, indecent, obscene, or disorderly.

Research Involving Vertebrate Animals, Human Subjects, or Genetically Modified Organisms/Recombinant DNA

All research involving vertebrate animals must be approved by the College's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) prior to initiation.

All research involving human subjects must be approved by the College's Institutional Review Board prior to initiation.

If required by the funding agency, protocols for research conducted by faculty and/or students using Genetically Modified Organisms/Recombinant DNA must be approved by the College’s Institutional Biosafety Committee. Not all funding agencies require institutional approval; it is up to the applicant to determine whether his or her experiments require approval. Most federal agencies use the National Institutes of Health guidelines. If a funding agency requires biosafety committee approval, contact Rachna Sinnott (sinnotrs@whitman.edu or x5990) for guidance.


Responsible Conduct of Research

Required for:

  • All students conducting federally-funded research

Training Components:

  • Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI Program) Online Course - The Responsible Conduct of Research Course
    • Log into citiprogram.org, and create username and password
    • Affiliate yourself with Whitman College
    • Complete RCR course (discuss with your faculty mentor which course is most appropriate for you-usually it is either biomedical or physical sciences)
    • Print out certificate of completion and submit to Rachna Sinnott (sinnotrs@whitman.edu or x5990)

Timing of Completion:

  • The CITI training must be completed before beginning research in the lab


  • The certification will be valid until graduation

Whitman College will host periodic on-campus research ethics seminars that all students doing research will be strongly encouraged to attend. Announcements of upcoming seminars will be posted on the grants website.

Financial Conflict of Interest

Required for:

  • All principal investigators on federal grants

Training Components:

  • Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI Program) Online Course - Conflict of Interest Basic Course
    • Log into citiprogram.org, and create username and password
    • Affiliate yourself with Whitman College
    • Complete Conflicts of Interest Basic Course
    • Print out certificate of completion and submit to Rachna Sinnott (sinnotrs@whitman.edu or x5990)

Timing of Completion:

  • The CITI FCOI training must be completed before beginning research in the lab
  • The FCOI form must be completed prior to grant submission


  • Every 4 years
  • Following the revision of the College's financial conflict of interest policy

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If you have any questions about these policies and training information, please contact Rachna Sinnott (sinnotrs@whitman.edu or x5990).

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