A Message from Rhonda L. Bishop
In February of last year, I was asked to appear before the Florida House of Representatives Select Committee on the Integrity of Research Institutions to provide an overview of UCF’s program for identifying and addressing risks associated with foreign influence. Higher education institutions in the United States, including Florida universities and academic medical centers, have been the target of foreign governments which have led to intellectual property theft and advanced technology transfers. In response to this threat, the Florida House of Representatives created the Select Committee on the Integrity of Research Institutions and launched a probe into Florida taxpayer-supported research institutions’ vulnerabilities. On July 1, 2020, Florida Statutes Section 1012.977 became effective of the committee’s work. The new statute requires Florida’s public postsecondary institutions to accurately report all sources of research support, financial interests, and affiliations. In response to this new law, UCF revised a regulation and policy to include the statutory requirements and incorporated the disclosure requirements in the online AA-21 disclosure that recently launched on March 8th. To assist our faculty and staff members who have been most impacted by the new law, we devoted two articles and a FAQ section to provide more guidance on this topic. The second article provides clarification on the required outside activities and financial interests that must be disclosed with corresponding questions and answers provided in the FAQs section. To help our faculty and staff members identify the threats to theft of their work and offer prevention tips, we also provide a published newsletter issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Strategic Partnership Unit. If you are engaged in any type of research here at UCF you are encouraged to read these articles and FAQs.
We often receive questions as to how investigations work at UCF. A new section titled Case Corner has now been added to the IntegrityStar. This section features actual investigations conducted by one of the investigative offices at UCF. These are real investigations, only the names have been changed to maintain confidentiality. For this edition, we provided details on a case investigated jointly by multiple offices due to the violations uncovered. Read Case Corner to find out more.
We’ve also made changes to our Youth Protection Program since our article in the March 2019 edition, namely, we implemented the new Squire registration system. Please take a minute to read the article to find out more about Squire (and how we selected the name).
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who participated in the Compliance and Ethics Week activities in November. We received a great response from faculty and staff and we were able to award 32 randomly selected prizes. Some of the selfies that we received were also posted to the 2020 Compliance and Ethics Week webpage.
Thank you for taking the time to read this edition of the IntegrityStar. As always, we welcome your suggestions for future topics and your feedback. Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.