Office of Research Compliance

Montana State University is a comprehensive research university offering undergraduate, graduate, advanced graduate and professional programs of study, maintaining an extensive research program, and providing service to the public. MSU emphasizes the integration of research and learning in academic research. The Office of Research Compliance oversees University programs designed to ensure compliance with federal, state, and local regulations for research, creates and supports an environment that furthers the ethical and responsible conduct of research, including the Conflict of Interest Management Program and the Research Integrity Verification Program.

Human Subjects in Research (IRB)

The University is committed to the responsible and ethical conduct of research involving human subjects.  Any member of the Montana State University faculty, staff, and student body who plans to initiate research involving human subjects must submit a protocol application for review and approval by the Human Subjects Institutional Review Board prior to beginning the project.

Animal Care and Use in Research (IACUC)

The University is committed to the responsible and ethical care and use of animals in research. The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee ensures the health, well-being and humane use of animals in research at MSU, following the regulations and guidance of the USDepartment of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)

The MSU Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) is responsible for review and oversight of research and teaching activities that use recombinant or synthetic nucleic acids, infectious agents, and toxins. If you are working with these materials, you must submit a protocol(s) to the IBC for approval. Principal Investigators are responsible for carrying out the IBC approved Biosafety Program and for following any regulations that apply to their research such as the National Institutes of Health Guidelines on recombinant and/or synthetic nucleic acid research. Individual researchers and laboratory workers are responsible for following established guidelines and policies and for reporting incidents and unsafe working conditions.

Radiation Safety Committee

Ensure that all University activities requiring the use of radiation or radioactive materials are performed within specific regulatory standards, and the particular conditions of its broad-scope byproduct materials licenses; set policy which will be coordinated through Radiation Safety Office; perform reviews of routine applications involving radioactive material or radiation use; ensure that exposure to radioactive material or radiation producing equipment are maintained at levels as low as reasonably achievable; review activities performed by Radiation Safety Office; prepare and maintain all Committee business; participate in search and selection of candidates for positions of Radiation Safety Officers and ancillary radiation safety support staff.

University Research Compliance Committee (RCC)

The Research Compliance Committee is responsible for designing, implementing, and overseeing a Research Compliance Program at MSU. The program will include the elements of an effective compliance program,* generally identified as the following:

  1. Standards and policies and procedures to be followed by employees with research-related responsibilities.
  2. Effective, high-level oversight to assure overall compliance with the standards and procedures.
  3. Systems designed to assure that employees with compliance responsibility have the character and background to foster effective compliance.
  4. Effective communication of compliance roles and responsibilities to all employees with responsibilities for research-related activities through training and other dissemination of information in understandable language.
  5. Effective systems of compliance monitoring, reporting and auditing.
  6. Consistent enforcement of the standards and procedures with appropriate consequences for violations, including discipline and remediation.

The Committee shall be composed of five members appointed by the President, including: the Vice-President of Research, who will act as Chair: a dean of a college with significant research responsibilities; a faculty member or administrator with a background conducive to supporting compliance program; a faculty member with substantial research experience; and another member chose in the discretion of the President.

In carrying out its charge, the Committee will draw upon the resources of the Office of Legal Counsel and Human Resources/Affirmative Action which Offices shall each supply and ex-officio member.

*The U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, COSO (Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission), the Guidelines of the National Institutes of Health Office of the Inspector General, and COGR (Council on Government Relations) provide guidance on effective compliance programs.

Biosafety Program


Export Control

MSU strives to create an open and collaborative research and teaching environment. However, in some limited circumstances, publication or other security restrictions imposed on research may require compliance with Federal regulations controlling the export of certain technology and information. MSU has an export control review and approval process and education and training program.

Responsible Conduct of Research

MSU encourages research and scholarly activities and considers such activities crucial to the teaching of students, the advancement of knowledge, and the intellectual growth of the faculty. MSU expects that research and scholarly activities will be conducted with the highest of ethical and professional standards. Allegations of research misconduct are handled in accordance with the University's policy can be seen at MSU's Office of Legal Counsel. The Director of Research Compliance is the Research Integrity Officer (RIO) for Montana State University.

Conflict of Interest

MSU's mission is enhanced by the active involvement of members of the university community with business, government, non-for-profit groups, professional societies, academic institutions, and other individuals and organizations. And, MSU encourages entrepreneurial activities that support its mission. These many interactions and activities can, however, create the potential for conflict of interest in which University employees' external activities or interests affect - or appear to affect - the manner or extent to which those individuals carry out their University responsibilities. Such conflicts-real or apparent-may undermine public and professional confidence in the University, diminish its ability to accomplish its mission, and violate federal law. Therefore, MSU expects all employees to comply with MSU Policy and state and federal laws and regulations governing conflicts of interest and ethical conduct by employees and researchers. MSU's Conflict of Interest Policy provides the university's policies and procedures concerning conflict of interest and establishes the disclosures required for MSU faculty and staff. Click here to see the full policy.