Policies and Procedures

Principal Investigator Policy

Principal Investigators (PIs)/ Project Directors (PDs) must be full-time SUNY Cortland faculty or staff members, unless otherwise approved by the appropriate dean, unit head and/or provost. Visiting professors may submit proposals as PIs as long as the proposal clearly states that the individual has a one-year, visiting professor affiliation with SUNY Cortland.

Institutional Approval Requirements/Procedures

Institutional approval is required prior to submission of all applications for grants, contracts, subcontracts, cooperative agreements, and fellowships or other individual awards.

Institutional approval must be obtained, prior to submission, when estimated budget figures are required in letters of intent, letters of inquiry and pre-proposal documents.

The institutional approval process begins with proposal and budget review by the Research and Sponsored Programs Office’ staff. Approval is documented on the Internal Academic Approval of Sponsored Programs form. Signatures required on the internal routing form include the PI, Co-PI (where applicable), chair, dean and RSPO representative. Projects requiring substantive effort, space or institutional cost share also must be approved by the provost and Vice President of finance and management. Review of financial obligations is coordinated by RSPO and approved separately by the Research Foundation fiscal officer and Operations Manager. All signatures are required prior to proposal submission. Signatures must be obtained two weeks prior to proposal deadlines.

Responsible Conduct of Research Policy

In accordance with the 2007 America COMPETES Act, the National Science Foundation (NSF) implemented a new requirement effective January 4, 2010 that applicant institutions certify that the institution has a plan to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduate students, graduate students, and/or postdoctoral researchers who receive NSF support to conduct research.  SUNY Cortland has been in compliance with this new requirement since it was implemented.

The plan adopted by SUNY Cortland to comply with this NSF requirement is as follows:

Any Principal Investigator overseeing an NSF award will be responsible to assure that each undergraduate student, graduate student, or postdoctoral researcher supported under that award who may conduct research access the CITI Course in the Responsible Conduct of Research. Here they can register for the course, and satisfactorily complete each required module of the course in the discipline-specific area determined by the Principal Investigator.  Satisfactory completion means a score of 80% or higher on the module quiz.  Those satisfactorily completing each required element of the CITI Course will be Certified in the Responsible Conduct of Research.  Principal Investigators will be encouraged to also become Certified in the Responsible Conduct of Research.  The Research and Sponsored Programs Office (RSPO) has institutional responsibility for informing faculty of this policy and for assuring that Principal Investigators understand and fulfill these responsibilities.

Principal Investigators will assure that undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers supported by NSF will not conduct research until Certified in the Responsible Conduct of Research.  NSF defines research as follows:  “Research is planned search or critical investigation aimed at discovery of new knowledge with the hope that such knowledge will be useful in developing a new product or service (hereinafter "product") or a new process or technique (hereinafter "process") or in bringing about a significant improvement to an existing product or process.”  Principal Investigators will terminate from NSF employment on the thirtieth day of NSF employment any undergraduate student, graduate student, or postdoctoral researcher whose job description includes conducting research who is not Certified in the Responsible Conduct of Research.  RSPO has institutional responsibility for informing the Human Resources Office that an undergraduate student, a graduate students, or a postdoctoral researcher funded by NSF to conduct research has met these requirements and may receive a paycheck from an NSF award more than thirty days after their date of hire.

The America COMPETES Act stands for the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science Act, United States Public Law 110-69 which took effect on August 9, 2007.

Conflict of Interest Policy

Research Foundation - SUNY Cortland Conflict of Interest Policy

  • No officers or employees of the Research Foundation should have any interest, financial or otherwise, direct or indirect, or engage in any business or transaction of professional activity or incur any obligation of any nature that is in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of their duties in the best interests of the Research Foundation.
  • No officers or employees of the Research Foundation should have any financial interest that will, or may be reasonably expected to, bias the design, conduct, or reporting of sponsored programs.

See Research Foundation - SUNY Cortland Conflict of Interest Policy for Complete details.

Policy on Conflicts of Interest in Public Health Service (PHS) Sponsored Programs

  • SUNY and RF Investigators may not have any interest or engage in any outside activity which results in unmanaged Financial Conflict of Interest. To this end, SUNY and RF Investigators must disclose their interests and outside activities, and those of a Related Party, which may affect their independent and objective performance of their PHS-funded project(s).
  • Financial Conflict of Interest shall be subject to management plans, and compliance with such management plans shall be monitored.
  • This policy applies to all Investigators who apply for, receive, plan to participate in or are participating in PHS grants or cooperative agreements for research.
  • To view the policy and access the PHS Significant Financial Interest Disclosure Form select the following link.
    PHS Policy

Dr. Timothy Killeen, Vice Chancellor for Research and Research Foundation President, has approved the SUNY and RF policies entitled "Policy on Conflicts of Interests in Public Health Service Sponsored Programs".
The Foundation is now registered within the Federal Demonstration Partnership Conflict of Interest Clearinghouse. This permits other institutions interested in partnering with SUNY to confirm SUNY and RF compliance with the PHS rules and regulations. This registration will facilitate research collaborations both within and beyond SUNY.
The Research Foundation for SUNY has established with the CITI certification program a training module on Conflicts of Interests. To access the training module and receive certification log into the Citi Program and under Main Menu, select "Affiliate with another institution". Use the drop-down box to select SUNY-Research Foundation Central Office. You must affiliate yourself with Research Foundation to take the module. Upon completion you can print a certificate for your records. This certification must be renewed every four years as stated in the PHS policy.

SUNY Copyright Policy

Generally the members of the staff of the University shall retain all rights to copyright and publish written works produced by them. However, in cases where persons are employed or directed within the scope of their employment to produce specific work subject to copyright the University shall have the right to publish such work without copyright or to copyright it in its own name. The copyright will also be subject to any contractual arrangements by the University for work in the course of which the writing was done. Staff members will be expected not to allow the privilege to write and retain the right to their work to interfere with their University duties. In those cases where an author desires the help of University facilities, arrangements should be made through the administrative staff of his institution in advance with respect to the assistance which may be appropriately given and the equity of the University in the finished work. (Research Foundation for SUNY, 2000).

SUNY Consulting Policy

No SUNY employee may receive payments either directly or indirectly for consulting or lecturing services performed on any grant or contract administered at his/her same campus. The policy applies both to academic year and summer periods. In some cases, extra service or honoraria are appropriate funding mechanisms.

Fringe Benefit Cost Recovery Policy

All Research Foundation accounts that fund employee salaries (including hourly-paid)) are charged for the recovery of fringe benefit costs based on the current fiscal year's approved fringe benefit rates. Fringe benefit costs may not be waived.

Patent and Inventions Policy

The Patents and Inventions Policy of State University of New York outlines appropriate steps to be taken to ensure that the public receives the benefit of all inventions made by persons working in State University facilities. The June 1, 1977 Agreement between State University of New York and the Research Foundation states: "The University's Patent and Copyright Policy and implementation thereof shall govern all patent and copyright matters arising out of any sponsored programs covered by this agreement." In accordance with the Agreement, the Research Foundation has adopted the State University policy as its own. The "Current Guidelines of the Patent Policy Board" outlines the use and approval of exclusive licenses and option agreements, and provides a definition of "royalty." The patents and inventions policy of the State University of New York as approved by the Board of Trustees on September 19,1979 and amended on November 16, 1988 is available on the SUNY website and identified as Title 8, Chapter V, Subchapter B, Section 335.28 of the Official Compilation of Codes, Rules and Regulations of the State of New York. (Article XI, Title J, Section 1. of the Policies of the Board of trustees).

Misconduct in Science Policy

A recent final rule in the Federal Register announced that institutions receiving funds from a variety of federal sources must develop a policy dealing with and reporting alleged or suspected misconduct in science involving research.  In this context the following guidelines have been developed in order to ensure an orderly and fair process of investigation of complaints relating to unethical practices in the conduct and reporting of scientific research.  It should be emphasized that known incidents of scientific misconduct represent a very small percentage of the thousands of projects that are funded by government sources and that a general atmosphere of trust and cooperation has long characterized research in the scientific community; the overall integrity of researchers in all scientific fields in exemplary.  However, when misconduct or unethical behavior is detected, it is important that appropriate college officials deal responsibly with such an incident and that a mechanism for receiving and investigating allegations of scientific misconduct as well as a process for resolving such allegations be in place.

An essential element of any policy on scientific misconduct that is to be fair and effective is a process that will differentiate between instances of genuine and serious misconduct from insignificant deviations from acceptable practices, technical violations of rules, simple carelessness, and other such minor infractions.  The procedures in this policy are designed to allow for such distinctions in a manner that minimizes disruptiveness and at the same time protects the conscientious, honest scientist from false or mistaken accusations.

Finally, it is essential to maintain an atmosphere of openness and creativity and to avoid unnecessary or repressive regulation.  The integrity of the research process is an essential part of our intellectual and social structure and has been maintained largely by self-regulation.  This policy, then, is designed to provide a framework to deal with those rare instances of violations of honesty in research.

Please click on either link below to view complete policy.

Misconduct in Science Policy (PDF)

Extra Service

An extra service employee is an exempt employee who performs services in addition to the duties and responsibilities required under the terms of the employee’s regular Research Foundation (RF) or State University of New York (SUNY) assignment. Compensation for an extra service employee is over and above full-time base salary as approved by SUNY and/or the Research Foundation. In accordance with federal guidelines and SUNY regulations, compensation for extra service must not exceed an amount equal to 20 percent of regular base salary rate in any academic year or 12-month period. Payments to SUNY employees for extra service require prior approvals.

At SUNY Cortland the key components of the extra service approved by the President’s Council May 11, 1987 are:

  1. Performance of extra service must not conflict with the employee’s primary function.
  2. Before an employee enters into any agreement to be compensated for extra service, the employee must seek and obtain approval from the President. M/C employees must obtain approval from the Chancellor.
  3. Compensation for extra service may not exceed an amount equal to 20% of base annual salary in any academic or calendar year. Summer employment of academic year obligation employees does not constitute extra service. However, for faculty during the academic year, “activities that are part of the normal professional obligation and for which an academic employee may be evaluated…and that are undertaken during the nine-month academic year obligation” should not be construed as “extra service.” In these cases, release time is the more appropriate.

For a copy of the full policy, please refer to the Extra Service Policy and Procedures for Academic and Professional Staff available within each department.

Research Foundation Honoraria Policy:

The following describes the rules that apply to honorarium payments made by the Research Foundation: 1. if the service provider is a SUNY academic or professional employee THEN the honorarium payment must comply with SUNY policy (see next section); 2. if the service provider is a non-SUNY service provider THEN there are no restrictions on the honorarium payment; 3. if the service provider is a Research Foundation employee THEN an honoraria cannot be paid.

SUNY Honoraria Policy

SUNY policy does not allow SUNY academics or professional employees to charge a fee to deliver a lecture at other SUNY campuses. However, SUNY policy does authorize payment of honoraria. According to SUNY policy, honoraria may not be paid for work at the lecturer’s home campus and are limited to $100 a day plus expenses.

Effort Reporting Policy

The following Research Foundation (RF) and State University of New York (SUNY) employees must report and certify total effort, that is, the percent of the activity for which the employees are compensated and which they are obligated to perform:

Read the full Effort Reporting Policy

Research Foundation Operations

Operations Manager

Each campus of the State University has an Operations Manager who is responsible for the overall compliance of Research Foundation administration on the campus. SUNY Cortland’s Operations Manager is the Vice President for Finance and Management.  Fiscal operations are assigned to the Business Office.  The Associate Vice President for Finance oversees the Fiscal Office for Research Foundation matters and takes responsibility for all post-award fiscal administration of Research Foundation activity.  Financial transactions associated with grants are entered on a terminal by RF Business Office staff and are transmitted to the Research Foundation computer system located in Albany.


The Research Foundation is the fiscal administrator of all external grants and contracts which are carried out in the colleges and university centers of SUNY.  Since 1977 the Foundation has had a formal contract with SUNY describing the terms and conditions of the services it performs for SUNY.  The Research Foundation is located at 35 State Street, P.O. Box 9, Albany, New York 12201-0009.  The Research Foundation is a private, nonprofit, educational corporation whose role in the State University of New York is to aid in the orderly, effective, and appropriate management of all external funds supporting SUNY sponsored projects and activities.

Grants and contracts are not awarded to individuals nor even to individual campuses but to the Research Foundation. The Research Foundation is considered SUNY Cortland’s legal representative, authorized to bind the College contractually, after coordination and discussion with the campus.  It is for this reason that, on application forms, the applicant is designated as “The Research Foundation for SUNY on behalf of and in conjunction with the State University College at Cortland.” This campus submits proposals directly to the funding agency and a copy of each proposal is forwarded to the Research Foundation in Albany after an award has been made. The RSPO authorizes campus acceptance of all grant and contract terms and conditions in consultation with assigned RF representatives.

General Policies Regarding the Use of Human Participants and Animals in Research

Institutional Human Participants Policy

SUNY Cortland acknowledges and accepts its responsibilities for protecting the rights and welfare of human participants of research.  The institution is guided by the ethical principles regarding all research involving humans as participants as set forth in the report of the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research entitled Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research.  In addition, the requirements set forth in Title 45, Part 46 of the Code of Federal Regulations (45 CFR 46) will apply to funded research and, for the requirements for reporting information to Health and Human Services (HHS), all other research without regard to source of funding.  This section of the Code was most recently revised in November 2001 and is referred to as the Common Rule. It has been adopted by HHS and other federal agencies.  Briefly, the HHS require­ments state:

  1. The involvement of human participants in research will not be permitted until the IRB has reviewed and approved the research protocol and informed consent has been obtained.
  2. The IRB will conduct a review of ongoing research at appropriate intervals but not less than once a year.

SUNY Cortland's Institutional Review Board Policies and Procedures provide guidance and requirements for investigator and student researchers.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)

HIPAA regulates organizations, businesses, and health care groups’ use and handling of personal identifiable health information (PIHI). The HIPAA Privacy Rule establishes the conditions that certain entities can use or disclose PIHI –including research purposes. HIPAA preempts State laws related to privacy of health information; that is, states may do more, but not less than the HIPAA requirements.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Sponsored Research Policy Statement:

All research studies at SUNY Cortland are reviewed to determine if the researcher functions as a part of a HIPAA defined health care plan, clearinghouse or a health care provider that performs one of the standards electronic transactions.  For human research participants protocols, the Institutional Review Board (IRB) or its designee, shall serve as the final determiner for HIPAA compliance.  For sponsored and non-sponsored research programs, the Assistant Vice President of the Research and Sponsored Programs Office (RSPO) shall determine HIPAA compliance.  If the researcher performs one of the electronic transactions or serves as a clearinghouse, the researcher shall disclose his or her procedures for adherence to HIPAA legislation and regulators to either the IRB or RSPO.

SUNY Cortland is committed to complying with all state, federal, and HIPAA rules and regulations with regards to the rights of human research participants. Thus, investigators who believe they may be dealing with medical information should read the HIPAA rules and contact the Institutional HIPAA designee, Director, Student Services.

Use of Animals

SUNY Cortland takes responsibility for the humane care and use of animals in projects. We are committed to comply with the Principles for the Use of Animals, the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, the provisions of the Animal Welfare Acts, and other applicable laws and regulations (PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals). We have appointed and will maintain a committee of at least five members to maintain oversight of our animal care program. The members have appropriate education and experience to perform their duties with respect to the types of animals and species used and the kinds of projects to be undertaken. If the conduct of a specific project is to be reviewed, the quorum will not include any member having an active role in the project. Changes in membership will be reported annually to the Office for Protection from Research Risks, National Institutes of Health. In addition to the chair, the committee consists of faculty and community representatives, including a veterinarian.

Procurement and Ownership of Technology Equipment

I. Ownership

All technology equipment purchased by the College is owned by the College. Technology purchased by the Research Foundation is owned by the Research Foundation. Technology equipment may be assigned to a department or faculty or staff member while he/she is employed by the College; however, the College or Research Foundation retains ownership.

Campus Technology Services is responsible for maintaining custodial records of all inventoried technology equipment and related peripheral equipment on campus, including the person/department to which the equipment has been assigned. Only staff from Campus Technology Services may transfer technology equipment from one office to another.

II. Procurement of New Technology Equipment

a. Standardization of Computer Hardware

On April 21, 1998 the President’s Cabinet approved standardization of computer hardware purchases. Therefore, Information Resources has created a standard hardware platform for Macintosh and one platform for Windows systems. The hardware vendor is chosen based on proven performance record and current state contract. Since 1998 the College has standardized on Dell computers for the Windows platform and Apple computers for the Macintosh platform. Other computer platforms may be purchased with the approval of the associate provost for information resources. Limited support is provided for other computer platforms.

b. Technology Lifecycle

The college lifecycle for desktop and lab computer/workstations is four to five years. Areas that require more contemporary technology may receive new computers more often than every four to five years. These locations are to be established in consultation with Campus Technology Services and identified on the inventory/replacement schedule. The minimum timeframe for computer use in an initial location is three years. Shorter initial uses may be accommodated in unique situations but require the approval of the associate provost for information resources and department chair.

c. Faculty Desktop Replacement Program

A list will be created in the fall semester by Campus Technology Services, one for PC users and one for Mac users, that identifies faculty who qualify for a replacement computer in that budget year. Information Resources will also determine the desktop/laptop replacement standard for faculty to choose from. Notifications will then be sent to faculty regarding their eligibility and they may place a request for a replacement computer. Non-standard platforms may be requested by sending written justification to the associate provost for information resources in Miller 206.

d. Research Foundation Purchases

Technology equipment purchased with funds from the Research Foundation is owned by the Research Foundation. Replacement funding for this technology equipment and/or recurring maintenance costs (if necessary) should be planned at the time of procurement.

Requests for technology equipment that will be funded by the Research Foundation must be approved by the department chair, dean, assistant vice president of research and sponsored programs and the associate provost for information resources. Users may make a request to Information Resources by filling out the Requests for New Equipment form. Completed requests should be sent to the associate provost for information resources in Miller 206. Campus Technology Services staff will evaluate/review technical specifications for equipment.

e. All Others

All requests for technology equipment must be approved by the department head, dean or associate vice president, and the associate provost for information resources. Users may make a request to Information Resources by filling out the Requests for New Equipment form. Completed requests should be sent to the associate provost for information resources in Miller 206. Replacement funding for this technology equipment and/or recurring maintenance costs (if necessary) should be planned at the time of procurement.

Campus Technology Services staff will evaluate/review technical specifications for equipment.

III. Reassignment/Disposal of Technology Equipment Being Replaced

 When technology equipment is replaced or reassigned, the equipment in question must be returned to Information Resources. The equipment cannot be passed from one user to the next without being formally reassigned.

Information Resources will evaluate returned technology equipment to determine its remaining life and appropriateness to be reassigned on campus. Technology equipment that does not meet reassignment standards will be disposed of in compliance with the SUNY Cortland Disposal Policy.

Technology equipment that is deemed appropriate for reassignment may be reassigned to an individual within the department that funded the original purchase. However, the technology equipment must first be returned to Information Resources in order for the hard-drive to be wiped and re-formatted.

For more details, please see the Reassigned Technology Equipment Policy.

rev. 7/6/12

Contact us

SUNY Cortland
P.O. Box 2000
Miller, Room 303
Cortland, NY, 13045

Phone: 607-753-2511
Fax:  607-753-5995