|Academics||University Research||University Outreach||Diversity||Institutional Research and Assessment|
Research is essential to the continuing vitality of a large-scale institutional program. All of Auburn's academic colleges, schools and departments are engaged in research. The University’s research program is coordinated through the Office of Associate Provost and Vice President for Research.
Externally sponsored academic activity involving university faculty, whether teaching, research, outreach or service, is presumed to satisfy the academic needs of the university and the academically related objectives of the sponsoring agency. The university provides faculty and facilities while the sponsor provides funds for the activities. Because faculty time and effort are required, it is reasonable for the university to request funds from the sponsor to support faculty effort. Whenever possible, it is prudent for the university to dedicate released funds in ways that enhance its academic activities. The purpose of this policy is to provide a direct incentive to faculty who receive extramural funding that includes salary support.
2. GUIDING PRINCIPLES
When appropriate, sponsoring agencies that have objectives compatible with AU’s academic enterprise may provide funds to support faculty time and effort. Such funds should be substituted for AU funds (state funds, endowment, etc…) that have been dedicated to fculty members’ base salaries.
Eligible funds released when a faculty activity, i.e., teaching, research, outreach or service, is supported by an extramural grant or contract may be used to create an incentive pool within each department to further its academic activities.
The incentive pool may be used to provide funds for travel, equipment, faculty salary supplements, graduate student support, and other activities that enhance the academic mission.
Each department or unit may determine the manner of distributing its own incentive funds with the intent of providing an incentive to the faculty member generating the funds. Departments should review their incentive policy at least every 3 years.
Incentives for faculty members with joint appointments, or with appointments funded from multiple sources should be negotiated between the funding units.
The base salary or contract salary of individual faculty members may not be altered by the receipt of incentive salary.
This policy does not restrict the amount that may be secured for summer salary for faculty with 9-month appointments.
The particular incentive(s) to be received, as described in 2.3 above, are to be negotiated between the faculty member receiving the eligible extramural funding and the appropriate department head or chair.
The Provost and Vice President for Research must approve each department or unit’s plans for distributing funds.
3. REQUESTS FOR SALARY SUPPORT ON GRANTS AND CONTRACTS
Faculty members who apply for externally funded grants or contracts should request a percentage of their total salary, including fringe benefits, from the extramural source, consistent with the time commitment to conduct the proposed academic activity, unless excluded by the funding agency.
All faculty funded from AU sources, unless otherwise restricted, are eligible. Individuals, who are split-funded from eligible and ineligible sources, will be eligible to participate with that portion of their salary supported by eligible funds.
A faculty member may be eligible for an incentive supplement from the incentive pool not to exceed 20% of their annualized base salary. The faculty member and the department chair will execute a written contract for the specific amount of the incentive award. The academic incentive allocation to faculty will be made once a year at the end of the fiscal year.
Each contract for academic incentive salary must be approved by the Dean and the appropriate Vice President.
Procedure to select the applicants who may submit letters of intent or proposals in response to an RFP that limits the number of submissions from a single university
Auburn University established the Institutional Review Board for the Use of Human Subjects in Research (IRB) to evaluate research for compliance with guidelines and regulations established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. All research in which human subjects are used, whether by faculty, staff, or students, must be approved in advance by the IRB, no matter the source of funding, lack of funding, or any other consideration. All modifications to approved human subject protocols must be submitted to and approved by the IRB in advance of implementation.
Information may be obtained from the Office of Associate Provost and Vice President for Research. Many departments or academic units have in place a procedure for screening or review of proposals before they are sent to the University IRB.
Auburn University established the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) to assure compliance with policies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and all other federal, state and local regulations concerning care, treatment and use of animals in research, teaching, production, and demonstration activities. All such activities, whether by faculty, staff, or students and whether funded or unfunded, must be approved in advance by the committee. All modifications to approved animal subject protocols must be submitted to and approved by the IACUC in advance of implementation. Information may be obtained from the Office of Associate Provost and Vice President for Research.
The University's Policy on Scientific Misconduct was developed to effect compliance with the requirements of the Public Health Service Final Rule on "Responsibilities of Awardees and Applicant Institutions for Dealing With and Reporting Possible Misconduct in Science" (42 CFR Part 50). Allegations of scientific misconduct made against any faculty, staff, or student of the University involved in research or research training, application for support of research or research training, or related research activities shall be handled according to the policies and procedures included in Auburn's policy statement on Scientific Misconduct, quoted below from the Board of Trustees Policies Manual, pp. C-10-16.
Misconduct in research, herein defined as scientific misconduct, is inappropriate behavior. Allegations of scientific misconduct made against individuals involved in research, or research training, applications for support of research or research training, or related research activities will be handled according to the policies and procedures included herein. Additional policies and procedures for scientific misconduct which apply only to Public Health Service supported research are provided in the section titled ADDITIONAL POLICIES APPLICABLE ONLY TO PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE FUNDED RESEARCH.
"Misconduct" or "Misconduct in Science" means fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, or other practices that seriously deviate from those that are commonly accepted within the scientific community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research. It does not include honest error or honest differences in interpretations or judgments of data.
"Inquiry" means information gathering and initial fact finding to determine whether an allegation or apparent instance of misconduct warrants an investigation.
"Investigation" means the formal examination and evaluation of all relevant facts to determine if misconduct has occurred.
Initial allegations should be reported to the Dean(s) of the college(s) or school(s) in which the alleged misconduct occurred. The Dean(s) must immediately report such allegations to the Associate Provost and Vice President for Research. If the Associate Provost and Vice President for Research have possible conflicts of interest, the allegations shall be referred to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. In the event of such conflict, "Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs" shall be substituted for "Associate Provost and Vice President for Research" hereinafter.
The Associate Provost and Vice President for Research shall informally review any allegation of scientific misconduct, confer with the appropriate Dean(s) and University administrators, and determine whether the allegation warrants initiation to the inquiry process. The Associate Provost and Vice President for Research shall discuss with the person making the allegations (hereafter referred to as the complainant(s)) the University's scientific misconduct policies and procedures. If the complainant(s) chooses to make a formal allegation and the Associate Provost and Vice President for Research determine that the allegation warrants initiation to the inquiry process, the inquiry shall be initiated immediately.
In order to effectively follow through with any allegations of misconduct, the identity of the complainant(s) must be revealed to the Associate Provost and Vice President for Research. Where the complainant seeks anonymity, the Associate Provost and Vice President for Research shall operate in such a way as to maintain that anonymity to the degree compatible with accomplishing the initial reviews. However, such anonymity cannot be assured. Further, anonymity of the complainant is neither desirable nor appropriate where an inquiry is instituted.
The University shall pursue an allegation of misconduct to the extent it is reasonably capable of doing so, even if the individual(s) against whom the allegation is made (hereafter referred to as the respondent(s)) has left the University before the case is resolved.
All reported allegations should be kept confidential to the extent permissible by law, and the University will undertake diligent efforts to protect the positions and reputations of those complainant(s), who, in good faith, make allegations of misconduct. If an allegation is found to be unsupported but has been submitted in good faith, no further action, other than informing all involved parties, shall be taken. The notification and the proceedings of an inquiry or an investigation, including the identity of the respondent(s), shall be held in strict confidence to protect the parties involved. If confidentiality is breached by the University, the University shall take such reasonable steps as are requested to minimize the damage to reputations that may result from unsupported allegations.
An inquiry is designed to separate allegations deserving of further investigation from frivolous, unjustified, or clearly mistaken allegations. Factual information is gathered and expeditiously reviewed to determine if an investigation of the charge is warranted.
The Associate Provost and Vice President for Research shall appoint an Inquiry Committee of no less than three (3) persons. The Committee shall consist of senior tenured faculty who are without conflict of interest, hold no appointment in the department(s) of either the complainant(s) or the respondent(s), and have appropriate expertise for evaluating the information relevant to the case. In the event of conflict of interest or need to acquire appropriate expertise, the Associate Provost and Vice President for Research may go outside the University to select one or more Committee members. Every effort shall be made to appoint a Committee of Inquiry within fifteen (15) days, but the Committee must be appointed within thirty (30) days from the receipt of the allegation.
The inquiry phase, including preparation of the written Report of Inquiry, shall be completed within sixty (60) calendar days of its initiation unless circumstances clearly warrant a longer period. In such circumstances, the Committee shall advise the Associate Provost and Vice President for Research who shall notify all relevant parties. The Report of Inquiry shall include documentation for justifying an extension of the 60-day period.
Records and proceedings of the inquiry are confidential and are to be passed on to a Committee of Investigation if an investigation is initiated. In any case, the records should be kept secure, and if no misconduct is found, records should be destroyed three (3) years after completion of an inquiry. Making the records public without authorization is grounds for a charge of misconduct.
The Associate Provost and Vice President for Research is responsible for notifying respondent(s) in writing of the allegations and of the proposed membership of the Committee of Inquiry for the purpose of identifying in advance any real or potential conflict of interest. As the inquiry is informal and intended to be expeditious, principals are expected to speak for themselves. All individuals may have the assistance of legal counsel and shall have the opportunity to present evidence and to call witnesses.
During the inquiry, the Associate Provost and Vice President for Research and the members of the Committee are responsible for the security of relevant documents. Copies of all documents and related communications are to be securely maintained in the Office of the Associate Provost and Vice President for Research.
The completion of an inquiry is marked by a determination of whether or not an investigation is warranted. The Committee's recommendation to proceed to an investigation shall be based on demonstrated probable cause for each allegation. The Committee shall prepare a written Report of Inquiry that states what evidence was reviewed, summarizes relevant interviews, and includes the findings and recommendations of the inquiry. The Report of Inquiry shall be submitted to the Associate Provost and Vice President for Research who shall be responsible for notifying the respondent(s) and complainant(s) of the outcome within ten (10) working days.
The respondent(s) shall be given a copy of the Report of Inquiry and the opportunity to comment in writing upon the findings and the recommendations. If the respondent(s) chooses to comment, such comments shall be forwarded as soon as possible but must be forwarded within ten (10) working days. The respondent(s)' comments shall be made a part of the record.
If the outcome of the inquiry indicates a need for formal investigation, the Associate Provost and Vice President for Research, shall notify this fact in writing to the appropriate Dean(s) and University administrators on or before the date the investigation begins. If the Associate Provost and Vice President for Research finds the allegations to be unfounded and malicious, appropriate University procedures may be invoked to address possible actions to be taken against the complainant(s).
The purpose of an investigation is to determine whether scientific misconduct has been committed. The investigation shall focus on accusations of misconduct as defined previously and examine the factual materials of each case. In the course of an investigation, additional information may emerge that justifies broadening the scope of the investigation beyond the initial allegations. The respondent(s) shall be informed in writing when significant new directions of investigations are undertaken.
The Associate Provost and Vice President for Research shall appoint an Investigating Committee of no less than three (3) persons. The Committee shall consist of senior tenured faculty who are without conflict of interest, hold no appointment in the departments of either the complainant(s) or the respondent(s), and have appropriate expertise for evaluating the information relevant to the case. In the event of conflict of interest or need to acquire appropriate expertise, the Associate Provost and Vice President for Research may go outside the University to select one or more Committee members. Every effort shall be made following the determination that an investigation is warranted to appoint an Investigating Committee within fifteen (15) days, but the Committee must be appointed within thirty (30) days. The Investigating Committee may or may not consist of the same membership as the Inquiry Committee.
Every effort should be made to complete the investigation within 120 days of its initiation; however, it is acknowledged that some cases may render this time period difficult to meet. In such cases, the Investigating Committee should compile a progress report, identify reasons for the delay and notify the Associate Provost and Vice President for Research of the additional time necessary for the investigation.
The Associate Provost and Vice President for Research shall convey to all relevant parties such information as may be required and shall notify all parties in writing of the allegations and of the procedures that shall be used to examine the allegations. Further, they shall be informed of the proposed membership of the Committee of Investigation for the purpose of identifying in advance any real or potential conflict of interest.
All parties to the case may be represented by legal counsel, may present evidence, and may call and examine witnesses. The investigation normally shall include examination of all documentation, including but not necessarily limited to relevant research data and proposals, publications, correspondence, and memoranda of telephone calls. The Committee shall attempt to interview all individuals involved either in making the allegation or against whom the allegation is made, as well as other individuals who might have information regarding key aspects of the allegations. Summaries of these interviews shall be provided to the interviewed party for comment or revision and included as part of the investigatory file. The Committee may request the involvement of outside experts. The investigation must be sufficiently thorough to permit the Committee to reach a decision about the validity of the allegation(s) and the scope of the wrong doing or to be sure that further investigation is not likely to alter an inconclusive result. In addition to making a judgment on the veracity of the charges, the Committee may recommend to the Associate Provost and Vice President for Research appropriate sanctions.
As the University is interested in protecting the health and safety of research subjects, students and staff, interim administrative action may be warranted prior to the conclusion of either the inquiry or the investigation. Such action ranging from slight restrictions to complete suspension of the respondent(s) and notification of external sponsors, when required by Federal regulations, is initiated by the Associate Provost and Vice President for Research.
All parties in the investigation are encouraged to cooperate by producing any additional data requested for the investigation. Copies of all materials secured by the Committee shall be provided to the respondent(s) and may be provided to other concerned parties as judged appropriate by the Committee. The respondent(s) shall have an opportunity to address the charges and evidence in detail.
After all evidence has been received, the Investigating Committee shall meet to deliberate and prepare its findings and recommendations. The Committee shall find no scientific misconduct unless a majority of the members conclude by clear and convincing evidence, based on the record as a whole, that the allegation(s) have been substantiated. All significant developments during the investigation, as well as the findings and recommendations of the Committee, shall be reported to the Associate Provost and Vice President for Research and to all Federal agencies, sponsors, or other entities with a need to know.
Upon completion of the investigation, the Committee shall submit to the Associate Provost and Vice President for Research a full written report which details the Committee's findings and recommendations. This report shall be sent also to the respondent(s) by the Associate Provost and Vice President for Research within ten (10) days of its receipt. The respondent(s) shall be given the opportunity to comment in writing upon the findings and the recommendations. If the respondent(s) chooses to comment, such comments shall be forwarded as soon as possible but must be forwarded within ten working days. The respondents' comments shall be made a part of the record.
In the absence of a finding of scientific misconduct, all parties informed of the investigation shall be informed in writing that allegations of misconduct were not supported. If the allegations were deemed to have been unfounded and maliciously motivated, appropriate actions shall be taken against the complainant. If the allegations were deemed to have been made in good faith, no additional measures are indicated and efforts shall be made to prevent retaliatory actions. In publicizing the findings of no misconduct, the University shall be guided by whether public announcements shall be harmful or beneficial in restoring any reputation(s) that may have been damaged. Usually, such decision shall be made in conjunction with the person(s) who was innocently accused.
When it has been determined that scientific misconduct has occurred, the Associate Provost and Vice President for Research shall consider the recommendations of the Committee and shall be responsible for determining and implementing sanction(s) as appropriate. The respondent(s) shall be notified in writing of the sanction(s) within twenty (20) days. If the sanction(s) involve termination of employment, the University termination procedures shall be invoked. The University must take action appropriate for the seriousness of the misconduct. Sanctions shall not be imposed during the appellate process.
Respondent(s) may appeal the decision of the Associate Provost and Vice President for Research. A written statement of the grounds for the appeal must be submitted to the President within thirty (30) days of written notification of the sanction(s). Appeals shall be restricted to the body of evidence already presented, and the grounds for appeal shall be limited to failure to follow appropriate procedures in the investigation or decisions/recommendations not supported by any reasonable evidence. Upon receipt of a written appeal, the President shall evaluate the evidence and make a determination. The President's decision shall be binding on all parties and shall be conveyed to all involved in a timely fashion.
Although new previously unconsidered material evidence is not grounds for an appeal, the Respondent(s) may submit a request to the President to reopen the Investigation in the event such evidence becomes available.
POLICIES APPLICABLE ONLY TO PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE FUNDED RESEARCH
The Associate Provost and Vice President for Research will notify the Office of Research Integrity when, at any stage of the inquiry or the investigation, there is an immediate health hazard; there is a need to protect Federal funds, equipment, or individuals affected by the inquiry or the investigation; and it is probable that the alleged incident will be reported publicly. If there is reasonable indication of possible criminal violations, the Associate Provost and Vice President for Research shall notify the Office of Research Integrity within twenty-four (24) hours.
When the inquiry determines that an investigation is not warranted, the University will maintain sufficient documentation of inquiries to permit a later assessment of the reasons. These records shall be maintained in a secure manner for a period of at least three (3) years after the termination of an inquiry, and shall, upon request, be provided to the authorized Department of Health and Human Services personnel.
If the University plans to terminate an inquiry or an investigation for any reason without completing all relevant requirements which are designated in this policy, then a report of the planned termination, including a description of the reasons for such termination, shall be made to the Office of Research Integrity.
If the outcome of the inquiry indicates a need for formal investigation, the Associate Provost and Vice President for Research, shall notify this fact in writing to the Office of Research Integrity on or before the date the investigation begins. At a minimum, the notification should include the name of the respondent(s) against whom the allegations have been made, the general nature of the allegation, and the Public Health Service application or grant number(s) involved.
The Investigating Committee shall immediately advise the Associate Provost and Vice President for Research of any developments during the course of the investigation which disclose facts that may affect current or potential Department of Health and Human Services funding for respondent(s) under investigation or that the Public Health Service needs to know to ensure appropriate use of Federal funds and otherwise protect the public interest, and the Associate Provost and Vice President for Research shall promptly appraise the Office of Research Integrity of these developments.
When the Investigating Committee is unable to complete the investigation in 120 days, the Associate Provost and Vice President for Research shall submit to the Office of Research Investigation a request for an extension, and it shall include an explanation for the delay, an interim report on the progress to date, an outline of what remains to be done, and an estimated date of completion. If this request is granted, the Associate Provost and Vice President for Research will file periodic progress reports, as requested, to the Office of Research Integrity.
The Associate Provost and Vice President for Research shall submit the final Report of Investigation to the Office of Research Integrity. This report shall describe the policies and procedures under which the investigation was conducted, how and from whom information was obtained relevant to the investigation, the findings, and the basis for the findings. It should also include the actual text or an accurate summary of the views of any individual(s) found to have engaged in misconduct, as well as a description of any sanctions taken by the University. Documentation which substantiates the investigation's findings will be made available to the Director of the Office of Research Integrity. If they can be identified, the respondent(s) who raised the allegation should be provided with those portions of the report that addresses their role and opinions in the investigation. All records of the investigation shall be retained for a period of three (3) years after PHS acceptance of the final Report of Investigation.
Currently under development
The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines for the determination of the respective rights of Auburn University and its members with regard to copyrights and royalties or other income derived from copyrightable work initiated after October 1, 1984. Materials and works subject to copyright and produced by members of the faculty, administration, staff, students, or other employees as a part of their employment shall be governed by this policy. Renewals of copyrights under previous copyright statutes shall follow the original formal or tacit copyright agreement between the University and the producer unless the material or work to be reproduced involves changes assisted or assigned by the University after October 1, 1984. This policy covers all material and work to be copyrighted by members of Auburn University under the Copyright Laws of the United States and/or other protective statutes. Examples of works covered by this policy include but are not limited to the following:
Books, journal articles, texts, glossaries, bibliographies, study guides, laboratory manuals, syllabi, tests, and survey instruments.
Lectures and unpublished lecture notes.
Films, slide programs, film strips, charts, transparencies, pictorials, graphics and other visual aids.
Video and audio tapes and cassettes.
Live video or audio broadcasts.
Programmed instruction materials.
Computer programs and documentation.
I. Determination of Equity in Copyrighted Materials
Copyrighted material may be produced through:
This policy recognizes the long-standing custom and tacit understanding that faculty members own copyright to their individual scholarly work. A member of the University is entitled to ownership of copyright and royalties or other income derived from individual scholarly works. Individual work for members of the faculty is defined as that scholarly work generally expected of faculty and incorporated into the regular recognitions and rewards processes of the University and is not a specific University assigned effort. Individual work, so defined, is automatically exempt from the formal review procedures of this policy. Individual scholarly work in which the University provides specific and non-routine support for the work, as defined by departmental, or unit, or University policy, shall be governed by Section I., 2. of this policy.
University Assisted Individual Efforts
Materials or works produced by employees of the University shall be subject to copyright by the employee and/or the University as co-authors if the production cost is specifically shared by the employee and the University and the material and works are not prepared in accordance with the terms of a contract or grant in which the University is a party or as a specific University assignment. In cases of University Assisted Individual Efforts in which the University assistance is less than fifty percent of the costs of production, the individual employee shall retain the copyright and the University may share in the division of royalty and other income up to the total of reimbursement costs of University assistance. In cases in which the University assistance is fifty percent or greater, the University shall retain the copyright and the division of royalty and other income shall be based on percentage of sponsorship. The percentage distribution shall be determined in accordance with the procedures in Section III. of this policy.
Routine use, as determined by departmental, unit, or University policy, of the Library, office space, equipment, supplies, facilities, and personnel does not, for the purposes of this policy, constitute University assistance.
Extramurally Sponsored Efforts
Rights to materials and works subject to copyright and developed as a result of work supported partially or fully by an outside agency through a contract or grant shall be determined in accordance with the terms of the contract or grant. In those cases where copyrights are vested in the University or shared between the sponsor and the University, the producer may share in the income within the provisions of this policy.
University Assigned Efforts
Materials or other works produced by employees of the University shall be subject to copyright exclusively by the University, if the University assigned the employee to write or produce the specific materials or works. Sharing of royalty or other income with the author or producer may be authorized by the Vice President for Research as an incentive to encourage further development of copyrightable materials. A faculty member's general obligation to produce scholarly and creative works and/or the receipt of a Professional Improvement Leave, unless there is a specific agreement to the contrary, do not constitute University Assigned Efforts as defined in this policy.
An employee of Auburn University may receive royalty and other incomes resulting from the net profit earnings from copyrighted material. No limit shall be set on the amount of royalty income an individual may earn. Determination of the relative amounts of royalty and other income earned or projected shall be negotiated with the Vice President for Research and shall be made at the time of copyright application, or at such prior time as deem appropriate, and within the provisions set forth in this policy. All remuneration agreements shall be put in writing.
Prior to initiation, or at such prior time as may be appropriate, of a copyright application resulting from materials or works produced by Auburn University employees as a part of or related to their employment, the employee shall submit a Copyright Agreement for review and approval through the department or unit head and dean to the Vice President for Research. The agreement proposal shall be submitted on forms provided by the Vice President for Research and shall comply with the provisions stated in the University Copyright Policy.
A University Copyright Appeals Committee shall review the application of this policy and shall submit its recommendations to the President in the event of disagreement between the employee and the Vice President for Research. Either the employee or the Vice President for Research may request a review. The Copyright appeals Committee shall be appointed by the President from nominations submitted by the University Senate and shall function in accordance with policies and procedures established by the Committee and reviewed by the University Senate.
This document constitutes the patent policy of Auburn University and applies to Auburn University faculty and other employees and students in the areas of discoveries, inventions and patents for the benefit of the public. The patent policy embodies both the procedural and substantive aspects concerning discoveries, inventions and patents as set out in Sections 1.0 and 2.0 and as summarized in the next paragraph. The policy has been developed to insure that prospective inventors are aware of the assistance available to them and the steps necessary to insure that a patentable idea reaches fruition. It was developed under the philosophy that by patenting an idea it not only offers an opportunity for personal reward but helps to promote the use of the patentable idea. Many unprotected ideas will not be utilized by private industry because of the high risk in capital investment. Thus, many ideas are lost to the economy.
Auburn University faculty, other employees, and students shall report to the University through the Secretary-Director of the Auburn Research Foundation, all discoveries or inventions deemed patentable arising from research or other activities conducted within the field of their official duties and responsibilities or programmed or substantially supported by the University. Such potentially patentable discoveries and inventions should be reported using the disclosure of invention form available from the Secretary-Director. Inventors are cautioned that a patent application must be filed within a year after open publication of the disclosure of an invention or the idea becomes part of the public domain and unpatentable.
The University's equity, if any, in inventions or discoveries of faculty members, other employees and students made outside the scope of their official duties and responsibilities but in which there is some use of University facilities will be determined by the University. The University's equity in inventions arising from projects conducted by students and faculty or employees as a part of formal instruction or thesis projects will also be determined by the University. The ownership and control of patent rights to patentable discoveries and inventions resulting from research sponsored by industrial or governmental agencies will be determined on the basis of the contractual agreement between the sponsor and the University. The University's equity in discoveries and inventions not covered by such contractual agreements will be determined by the University. Inventions and discoveries made or developed solely in the course of consulting work performed for outside agencies with the concurrence or approval of the appropriate Vice President shall not be considered having been made or developed in the course of University employment unless otherwise provided by the approving authority or unless a significant use of University facilities is involved. The equity in inventions arising from consulting engagements by faculty and other employees not having prior concurrence or approval by the appropriate Vice President will be determined by the University.
The policy is intended to encourage the patenting of discoveries and inventions and the development and utilization of patents for the benefit of the public and the inventors for all patents in which the University has an equity. Furthermore, the policy offers a mechanism for patenting discoveries and inventions of the faculty, employees and students in which the University has no equity but may acquire equitable interest in order to assist the faculty, other employees or students. The policy is general and reflects the tenor of Auburn University in its activities to assist prospective patentees develop their discoveries and inventions for patenting for the benefit of the public and the inventors.
1.0 Substantive Policy
This policy shall exist between Auburn University and all faculty, other employees and students of the University. This relation between the parties shall arise as a part of the employment contract between the University and its faculty and employees and shall constitute a condition of enrollment for all students and, prior to the use of any University facilities which might result in an invention or discovery, the individuals will execute a signed and witnessed agreement to this policy.
1.2 Duration of Policy
The policy shall be effective between Auburn University and each faculty member or other employee commencing with his employment and continuing for a period of one year subsequent to his termination of employment. Similarly, the policy shall be effective between the University and each student commencing with his enrollment and continuing for a period of one year subsequent to the termination of his last period of enrollment.
The policy is subject to change and a copy of the current policy will be kept on file in the office of the Secretary-Director of the Auburn Research Foundation.
1.3 Class of Intellectual Property Rights Affected
This policy covers patentable subject matter and patents but does not extend to copyrightable or copyrighted material. Patentable subject matter involving the act of invention covers:
Processes, machines, compositions of matter and other articles of manufacture. "Process" includes improvement of a known process or an entirely new method for making a composition of matter or article of manufacture.
Plants - Asexually and sexually reproduced plants, with some exceptions.
Conception, a mental act;
Reduction to practice.
Unpatentable subject matter covers:
Discovery of natural phenomenon;
Product of nature (except antibiotics, vitamins);
Mere ideas or concepts;
Inventions relating to atomic weapons.
1.4 Equities of the Parties
1.4.1 Internally Sponsored Projects
The patent rights to inventions and developments resulting from research or other activities conducted by faculty, other employees or students within the field of their official duties and responsibilities or programmed or substantially supported by the University are retained by the University. Disposition of patent rights is handled by the University. However, the faculty members, other employees and/or students, who are the inventors of record may participate in the income from discoveries and inventions on which patents are obtained in accordance with Section 1.5.
In the event Auburn University does not elect within six months after submission of a disclosure to pursue a patent or patents on any discovery or invention, the inventor or inventors may request the release of all rights to the invention or discovery and they may dispose of and handle them as they desire.
The University or its agent will bear all costs of pursuing the obtaining of patents for all inventions and discoveries retained by the University, but these costs will be deducted from the proceeds prior to any payments to the inventor or inventors.
1.4.2 Personal Research
In order to provide incentive and encouragement to faculty members, other employees and students of the University in pursuing their personal research interests outside the scope of their official duties and responsibilities and not programmed or substantially supported by the University although slight use may be made of University facilities, any resulting invention or development which may be patentable may be submitted to the University for acceptance or rejection, or may be disposed of and handled by the inventors as they desire. However, all personal discoveries or inventions will be reported to the University, regardless of submission for acceptance or rejection by the University for a determination in accordance with this section. Generally, projects conducted by students and faculty or employees as a part of formal instruction or thesis projects are considered personal research and outside the scope of official duties and responsibilities and programming unless such thesis projects are conducted as a part of a contractual research effort or substantially supported by the University.
Faculty, other employees and students submitting patentable ideas and discoveries resulting from personal research to the University accepted for patenting will participate in the income from these patents in accordance with Section 1.5. The University or its agent will bear the costs of pursuing the obtaining of patents for all accepted inventions and discoveries, but these costs will be deducted from the proceeds prior to any payment to the inventor or inventors.
1.4.3 Industrial Research
The ownership and control of patent rights to patentable discoveries and inventions resulting from research sponsored by industry at the University are determined by the contractual arrangement between the sponsor and University. In general, the University retains ownership and control of the patents; however, if required by the sponsor, the University will assign and convey to the sponsor under the contractual arrangements rights to all patentable discoveries and inventions resulting from the sponsored research. Where the University retains ownership and control of patents resulting from sponsored research, the University treats these patents the same as though resulting from its own research and Section 1.4.1 is applicable.
1.4.4 Government Research
Auburn University complies with the government patent policies as set forth by the various Executive Departments and Agencies of the Federal government. The question of ownership and control of patents resulting from Federally or State supported research is determined in each specific contract. Contracts with the State of Alabama shall be governed by Section 1.4.1 unless otherwise provided.
Faculty and other employees desiring to perform consulting work for outside organizations are required to obtain the prior concurrence in accordance with current University policy.
Inventions and discoveries made or developed solely in the course of consulting work performed with prior concurrence in accordance with current University policy shall not be considered as having been made or developed in the course of University employment unless otherwise provided in the concurrence or unless a significant use of University facilities is involved, in which case the University will determine whether or not Section 1.4.2 or other section applies.
Inventions arising from consulting engagements by faculty and other employees not having prior concurrence or approval by the appropriate Vice President and involving substantial use of University facilities will be governed by Section 1.4.1, notwithstanding any agreement between the consultant and his client. Students working with faculty on consulting projects are governed by this same policy.
1.5 Division of Equities
Faculty, other employees and/or students as inventor or co-inventors may receive jointly percentages of the net proceeds as indicated below:
30% of Net Proceeds with Net Proceeds being Up to $100,000
25% of Net Proceeds with Net Proceeds being the Next $100,000
20% of Net Proceeds with Net Proceeds being the Next $100,000
15% of Net Proceeds with Net Proceeds being everything over $300,000
The net proceeds is defined as the proceeds minus all costs of obtaining the patent and of defending and/or marketing the patent. The percentage of net proceeds to the inventor or co-inventors will be distributed annually.
1.6 Agreement as to Division of Equities
Auburn University shall, if it determines that more than one individual is entitled to an equity in an invention or discovery, determine the manner in which the equity awarded to the group shall be divided among the individuals constituting the group, provided, however, that if such individuals have agreed among themselves, such agreement shall be conclusive.
1.7 Assignment of Equities
Notwithstanding any determination of Auburn University, or any other provision of this policy, faculty, employees and students shall have no equities or rights whatsoever in inventions and discoveries belonging to the University unless and until a written agreement has been executed by the University and University faculty, other employees and/or students consistent with the determination of the University guided by this policy.
The inventor or inventors are required to execute such as assignments and other documents that the University determines to be necessary in obtaining the patent.
1.8 Effective Date of this Policy
This policy is effective as of the date of its signing by the President of Auburn University. Nothing in the Auburn University Patent Policy shall be deemed to change any agreements made under previous policies.
All University faculty, other employees and students shall report to Auburn University through the Secretary-Director of the Auburn Research Foundation any ideas or discoveries deemed patentable arising from situations described in Section 1.4 using a disclosure of invention form, available from the Secretary-Director. Inventors are cautioned that a patent application must be filed within a year after open publication of the disclosure of an invention or the idea becomes part of the public domain and unpatentable.
2.2 Auburn University
Auburn University shall consider promptly all reports of inventions and discoveries and shall make the determinations required herein within a reasonable time and in no case longer than six months. The University personnel or students involved shall be entitled to appear before the Secretary-Director of the Auburn Research Foundation and present evidence to the report. The University's determination shall be made in writing and shall contain a statement of findings and grounds for decision. In all cases where the University declines to pursue a patentable idea or potential patent the ownership of the rights to such idea or patent are released in to the inventor/s unless prior restraints exist between the University and a sponsoring agency. The University shall maintain the confidentiality of all patentable ideas so as not to jeopardize the patentability of such ideas.
The University shall have the right to determine how and for what consideration any patent rights assigned to the University will be used.
2.3 Dissemination of this Policy
This policy shall be published in the Faculty Handbook or other appropriate document distributed to the faculty and employees and the Student Policy eHandbook, the official publication for students of Auburn University. The policy shall be referenced in initial employment papers of faculty and other employees of Auburn University, Administrative Digests and other appropriate documents for faculty, other employees and students.
THIS POLICY WAS APPROVED THE 15th DAY of MARCH, 1974 by then President of Auburn University, Harry M. Philpott
Executive Committee Resolution
Proposed Change In Auburn University Patent Policy
WHEREAS, Auburn University, through its research and other creative endeavors, strives to originate and disseminate new processes holding promise of increasing technological advancement; and
WHEREAS, an incentive for faculty involvement in the development and transfer of technology to the private sector is the prospect of their sharing in the royalty proceeds and similar income generated from marketing an invention or discovery; and
WHEREAS, the Vice President for Research and others have proposed that the Auburn University Patent Policy be revised to permit allocation to the inventor of an increased share of invention royalty net income.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Trustees of Auburn University that William V. Muse, President, or such other person as may be acting as President, be and the same is hereby authorized to change Paragraph 1.5, of the existing Auburn University Patent Policy as provided below:
a. The inventor or inventors will receive 50 percent of the first $100,000 of net royalty; 40 percent of the second $100,000; and 30 percent of all net royalty income over $200,000.
b. Net royalty income will be determined by the following method:
First, all out-of-pocket University expenses for obtaining, defending and marketing the patent will be recovered. Second, a 15 percent administrative charge will be used to provide resources to encourage invention disclosures and to process these in a timely manner, and to facilitate the transfer and commercialization of discoveries and inventions.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this policy revision is effective upon approval, with respect to all royalty and similar income received after said effect date.
Approved August 20, 1993
Due to the increasing complexity and interdisciplinary nature of many instructional, research, and outreach programs, traditional academic departments may not have sufficient diversity in their faculty or adequate facilities and resources to allow such programs to reach their full potential. Under these circumstances, it will be the policy of Auburn University to establish Centers and Institutes to facilitate the management and development of these programs, providing they also fulfill the following criteria.*
The Center or Institute is consistent with the University's mission and priorities.
The program represents a well-defined area of instruction, research, or outreach involving faculty and resources from more than one (1) discipline, Department, College, or School.
The University has existing strengths and resources in the programs, including a critical mass of faculty and a demonstrated commitment on the part of the involved faculty and administration to actively participate in the Center or Institute.
The Center or Institute will enhance instruction, research, or outreach programs in Colleges and Schools and provide more effective administration of programs.
Establishment of a Center or Institute will provide the program greater visibility and increased potential for extramural funding.
*The difference between Centers and Institutes will be a matter of degree--that is to say, Institutes will be very large programs involving a number of Departments, Colleges and/or Schools, or external partners. The Center designation will always be used for interdisciplinary or interdepartmental programs in a single College or School.
Administration of Centers and Institutes
Each Center or Institute will have a Director who is responsible for the day-to- day administration of the program. Such arrangements may vary from a part-time director who receives release time from other University responsibilities to a full-time director whose primary responsibility is the administration of the Center or Institute.
While ordinarily all Centers and Institutes will ultimately be the responsibility of a Vice President or the Provost,** it is essential that the academic deans be directly involved in the administration of Centers and Institutes. This involvement is important because all such programs will have an impact on resource allocations in Colleges and Schools and will require special attention to the appointment and evaluation of participating faculty. For these reasons, all Centers and Institutes involving more than one (1) College or School shall have an Administrative Board that includes the deans from the participating Colleges and Schools, as well as appropriate department heads/chairs and faculty members. The director of the Center or Institute will report to this Administrative Board which, in turn, will report to the appropriate Vice President. When Centers involve interdisciplinary or interdepartmental programs within a single College or School, the director will report to the dean of that College or School.
All Centers and Institutes should undergo external review at least every five (5) years to assess quality and effectiveness of programs.
Procedure for Establishing Centers and Institutes
After detailed review and consultation with appropriate faculty and administrators, the appropriate Vice President or Provost may separately or jointly recommend to the President of the University the establishment of a Center or Institute.
When, in the opinion of the President, a program of instruction, research, or outreach fulfills the criteria set forth in this Policy Statement, he or she may authorize the establishment of such Centers and Institutes. If establishment of a proposed Center or Institute requires new funding in excess of $100,000, Board approval is also required. It will be the President's responsibility, at regular intervals, to report to the Board of Trustees, as a matter of information, on the establishment of Centers and Institutes.
* This policy addresses administrative or management structures for interdisciplinary activities. The Policy does not extend to the use of the terms “Centers” or “Institutes” in connection with non-interdisciplinary programmatic activities.
** For Centers and Institutes created on the Auburn Montgomery Campus the functional counterpart to a Vice Presidents or the Provost will fulfill these responsibilities.
Last Updated: September 11, 2012