Researcher

Why compliance matters to me

Compliance is a willingness to follow a prescribed course of action, such as laws and regulations. With such a complex and varied research enterprise, U-M faces many research compliance obligations – at least some of which will be relevant to each research project.

Compliance specialists and legal advisers can support and assist you in interpreting laws and understanding what requirements apply to your work. But ultimately, you understand your work best; and are best placed to determine whether you are in fact complying with the law.

To strengthen U-M’s compliance culture and to support you in managing your obligations, the Office of the General Counsel has developed this website, as part of a University wide initiative that takes a big picture view of compliance by U-M.  This Compliance Resource Center is designed to guide you through the various compliance topics relevant to your work.

Read more about the goals of this initiative…

How compliance intersects with research roles

All researchers are responsible for conducting their research responsibly, and in accordance with compliance requirements. There are a wide range of compliance obligations (including human subjects or animal subjects requirements) and grant administration requirements that may apply to your research. When you seek external funding through e-research, you will automatically be guided through the relevant compliance requirements and approval processes. For research that is not processed through e-research, it is critical that you consider each of the potential compliance requirements and seek the necessary approvals and guidance.

As a Principal Investigator, you have ultimate responsibility for all aspects of your sponsored research, on behalf of U-M. This means you need to be familiar with the array of compliance obligations that might apply – which may be slightly different for each research project you do. See our Research Compliance Overview for a summary of the major triggers of compliance in research.

If you also supervise or mentor students in a research or clinical setting, remember that you are responsible for modeling professional responsibility for those students. This includes helping them learn about the laws, compliance obligations and ethical norms specific to your discipline – including general issues like avoiding conflicts of interest, collecting and using data responsibly, using research funds ethically, and treating animal and human subjects properly. Only if students see their mentors and supervisors modeling professional practices will they learn to act according to the same standards. [For further guidance, see “How to Mentor Students: A Faculty Guide”(published by the Rackham Graduate School), and other resources collated by the MORE (Mentoring Others Results in Excellence) program.]

If you also teach students in a classroom environment, there are many regulatory issues that can arise – see our Classroom Teaching page for a summary of those issues

Read more about the kinds of laws U-M needs to comply with…

How will this website help?

A major long term goal of the U-M Comprehensive Compliance Initiative is to raise general awareness about compliance. Greater awareness can ultimately empower you to understand better how and when compliance intersects with your day-to-day work in the University.

Another goal is to provide an additional point of contact for people to bring compliance questions or concerns. If you feel unsure about a situation, or think a compliance problem needs to be reported but are uncomfortable raising it inside your department, read about the various support mechanisms available on our Report a Concern page.

The first step in raising compliance awareness is the development of this Compliance Resource Center, which can guide you through the compliance topics relevant to your work. We suggest you spend a few minutes browsing the compliance topic areas, or the operations and activities library.  Both of these will be built upon gradually over time, to house practical resources, contacts, links and information.  We hope that these pages will be of benefit not only as an orientation for newcomers to the University, but also as a quick and constant reference for those with more knowledge and experience in handling compliance at U-M.

Start browsing the compliance pages related to Research compliance…


Established 3/4/11, last updated 3/7/17 – Contact us if you believe any information is incorrect or outdated