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Research Policy

Purpose

Scope

Principles

Policy statements

Policy ownership and support

Definitions

Approval information

PDF version

References

1. Purpose

1.1 The Research Policy (the policy) outlines how research at UTS is conducted and managed. In support of the UTS Research Strategy (the research strategy), the policy establishes the research environment and culture in which UTS researchers work.

1.2 Research is fundamental to UTS’s purpose, in particular the delivery of excellent research with strong economic, environmental, cultural and social impact. Research is broadly defined by the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (the Australian Code) as 'the creation of new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way so as to generate new concepts, methodologies, inventions and understandings'.

1.3 Research at UTS involves critical and experimental inquiry guided by a hypothesis or intellectual position that is open to scrutiny from peers and formal analysis by experts in the field. UTS sees research as having a direct impact on communities, government, business and industry.

2. Scope

2.1 The policy applies to all staff, students and affiliates (hereafter researchers) conducting or managing research for UTS. In addition, UTS staff will undertake research in line with the provisions of the enterprise agreement.

2.2 The policy is supported by procedures and guidelines to help researchers initiate, plan, conduct and complete their research. The policy should be used in conjunction with the procedures.

2.3 In addition, graduate research students and supervisors must comply with the Graduate Research and Supervision Policy and section 11, Student Rules.

2.4 University consulting is acknowledged as a specific type of research and is managed under the University Consulting Procedures (PDF, staff only).

3. Principles

3.1 The Australian Code establishes a framework for responsible and ethical research practices and principles. Researchers must be familiar with and comply with the principles and responsibilities outlined in the Australian Code and this policy.

3.2 UTS also complies with the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research, Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes and AIATSIS Code of Ethics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research.

3.3 The UTS 2027 strategy establishes the goal of excellence in connected research. The research strategy provides a roadmap for researchers to deliver excellent research with impact, establishes characteristics of research excellence and connects researchers with the tools needed to create high-quality research outcomes.

3.4 Research must be conducted and managed in line with this policy to enable UTS to effectively support its research endeavours and report publicly on its research activities. Research conducted at UTS must be the subject of peer review to ensure necessary standards via expert scrutiny in line with the requirements of the Australian Code.

3.5 The Research Office provides strategic and procedural guidance to researchers and is responsible for the development and publication of relevant procedures and guidelines. Researchers must conduct their research in line with this policy and all associated procedures and guidelines.

3.6 Research funding is assessed through a rigorous due diligence and risk assessment process to ensure compliance with UTS values, external legislation (for example Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cwlth)) and other external guidelines (for example Guidelines to Counter Foreign Interference in the Australian University Sector). In line with UTS values, UTS will not seek or accept research funding in any form from the tobacco industry.

4. Policy statements

Research requirements

4.1 This policy supports the university’s research strategy by outlining a set of practical tasks and requirements for UTS researchers and research project leaders. This policy will help produce high-quality research with impact by:

  • identifying considerations and requirements for all researchers
  • supporting the development of high-quality, competitive research proposals
  • providing the necessary structure for researchers and authorisers/delegates to act responsibly, with rigour and honesty, promoting responsible leadership at all levels of research
  • encouraging fairness, respect and recognition for all those involved in UTS research
  • ensuring transparency and accountability when reporting research methodologies and findings
  • supporting the management of research data in a secure, accessible, interoperable and reusable manner
  • enabling open, equitable and worldwide access to research outcomes wherever possible.

4.2 Researchers, individually or collaboratively, will carry out research, scholarship and/or creative activities relevant to their discipline. In line with the enterprise agreement, the requirement for researchers to undertake research is considered a natural part of a career at UTS. To this end, researchers will:

  • contribute to UTS's culture of responsible research conduct and undertake research with impact
  • supervise graduate research students in line with the Graduate Research and Supervision Policy and engage in mentoring
  • disseminate research findings (through more than one medium or one audience), including through teaching
  • connect with external stakeholders and be a member of relevant professional bodies and communities
  • help to secure financial support for research activities from external sources (for example government funding, industry partnerships and contracts, and commercialisation opportunities).

Research risks, opportunities and conflicts

4.3 Research direction and impact at UTS is determined by understanding the risks and opportunities of research. Before carrying out any research activities, researchers must undertake appropriate due diligence and risk assessments (in line with the Risk Management Policy and Procedures).

4.4 Researchers must manage risks in line with the Health and Safety Policy, the health and safety management framework and any relevant faculty/unit risk and health and safety requirements.

4.5 Researchers must understand and comply with the university’s requirements on identifying and declaring conflicts of interest in line with the Code of Conduct and Research Management Procedures (PDF, staff only).

4.6 Researchers must be cognisant of all potential spheres of influence and report any conflicts or influence that may arise during the undertaking of any research-related activities. This includes the university’s obligation to comply with the Guidelines to Counter Foreign Interference in the Australian University Sector.

Research ethics and biosafety

4.7 Research project leaders must obtain all necessary ethics and biosafety approvals before the start of any work involving:

  • human participants and/or their data
  • innovations, interventions and therapies, including clinical and non-clinical trials
  • the care and use of animals for scientific purposes
  • biological hazards (such as genetically modified organisms (GMOs), pathogens, ionising radiation, cytotoxic substances and imported biological materials).

4.8 Research project leaders must follow the research ethics and biosafety requirements outlined in the Research Management Procedures (PDF, staff only).

Research collaborations

4.9 Research collaborations are encouraged by the research strategy and must be guided by Collaborative Research (a guide supporting the Australian Code). Research projects that involve international collaborations must also comply with the Defence Trade Controls Compliance Procedures (PDF, staff only) and the Autonomous Sanctions Act 2011 (Cwlth) where necessary. More information is outlined at International collaboration and engagement: Regulatory considerations (SharePoint).

4.10 Research that involves collaboration or partnership with the Department of Defence may fall under the Defence Industry Security Program (DISP). Researchers engaging in DISP collaborations must comply with the Defence Industry Security Program Procedures (PDF, staff only).

Research planning

4.11 All research requires effective planning. Before starting any research, whether funded or unfunded, a discrete project, program of inquiry or entire career, researchers should consider:

  • who or what will benefit from the research
  • the intended outcomes of the research
  • the impact of the research
  • how community, government and/or industry will be engaged to ensure the right questions are being asked and the right problems are being solved
  • who will participate in the research and whether any approvals or consent will be required
  • what resources will be required
  • how the research findings will be disseminated and translated into practice, and
  • how the results of the research will be protected, recorded and archived at the end of the research project.

Research proposals

4.12 A research proposal forms the starting point of a research project. The content and detail of a proposal will vary depending on the purpose and audience but it will serve as a guide to the purpose and intent of the project.

4.13 At a minimum, a research proposal should set out what will be done in a research project, who will be involved, timelines, deliverables, how the project will have impact and how it will be managed in line with the Research Management Procedures (PDF, staff only).

4.14 Research project leaders are responsible for the accuracy of the information provided in the research proposal, and for the general management and oversight of research projects, as outlined in the Research Management Procedures (PDF, staff only).

Costing, pricing and expenditure

4.15 The costing, pricing and expenditure of research forms part of the research proposal. The research project leader must comply with the Research Finance Procedures (PDF, staff only) to ensure appropriate expenditure and management of funds.

4.16 In accurately costing and pricing a research project, the research project leader must:

  • provide sufficient justification to allow the authorised delegate to make an informed decision in approving a project proposal or a research contract
  • be able to justify the investment of UTS staff time, resources, facilities and other direct or indirect costs, where requested by the authorised delegate
  • follow the requirements outlined in the Research Finance Procedures (PDF, staff only).

Approvals

4.17 All research projects must be formally approved before any research activity begins. The research project leader must provide all the necessary information in the proposal to allow the UTS delegate to approve the project, in line with the UTS Delegations and the Research Management Procedures (PDF, staff only). This includes having approval for the proposal by the research project leader's faculty/institute.

4.18 In approving a research proposal, the UTS delegate must ensure that:

Research contracts

4.19 Most research projects require a research contract. Research contracts must be negotiated and agreed in line with the Research Management Procedures (PDF, staff only). A research contract cannot be negotiated or signed until the research proposal has been approved.

4.20 The research project leader must ensure that all researchers involved in a research project are aware of their responsibilities and obligations under the research contract.

4.21 Agreements and commitments in relation to intellectual property (IP), including its commercialisation (refer Commercial Activities Policy), provision of rights, transfer of ownership or transfer of university material relating to university IP, must be outlined in the research contract and approved by the authorised UTS delegate.

Research data, primary materials and records

4.22 The effective management of research data enables and supports research collaborations and the publication and validation of research. Researchers must manage all research data, primary materials and research records in line with the Research Data Management (RDM) Procedures (PDF). The RDM Procedures must be used in conjunction with the Records Management Policy as appropriate.

4.23 Researchers must adhere to any data management or recording requirements that are outlined in the research contract. Variations to the contract should be managed in line with the RDM Procedures (PDF). Discrepancies between the contract and any UTS record management requirements should be identified and resolved in line with the RDM Procedures (PDF).

4.24 Research involving the sharing of data outside UTS must include data sharing arrangements in the research contract or a separate data licence agreement. This includes projects where a researcher leaves UTS and requires continuing access to the data.

Research outputs and project completion

4.25 Research outputs take many forms and are critical to UTS's research reputation and impact. Research outputs must be shared responsibly, accurately and as widely as possible in line with the Open Access Policy. Exceptions to this may occur where:

  • commercial, legal, technical, privacy or ethical constraints (as part of an approved research contract) prevent sharing of data and data outputs
  • researchers have the right to keep research data associated with publications confidential until the results have been published.

4.26 Researchers must manage research outputs and all associated data in line with the RDM Procedures (PDF).

4.27 Researchers should think strategically about when, where and how to disseminate their research findings, and to make informed decisions to avoid being exposed to predatory publishers and conference organisers.

4.28 Research project leaders must manage the authorship and attribution of research outputs in line with the Australian Code and Authorship Procedures (PDF).

4.29 Research project leaders are responsible for ensuring the full completion of a research project in line with the Research Management Procedures (PDF, staff only).

Evaluating and monitoring performance

4.30 The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) is responsible for the evaluation and monitoring of research performance at UTS, which involves annual reporting to Council.

4.31 Impact must be considered in all research projects. UTS uses a number of internal and external measures to determine the impact of its research (for example the Australian Research Council's Engagement and Impact Assessment).

4.32 Researchers undergo an annual planning and review process in line with the enterprise agreement.

4.33 Researchers are supported at UTS through a number of research-focused professional development opportunities.

Reporting requirements

4.34 UTS collects and reports on research quality, impact and engagement through participation in the Australian Research Council's Excellence in Research for Australia and Engagement and Impact Assessment. Researchers are required to submit data to both these exercises as requested/managed by the Research Office.

4.35 UTS collects data on all of its research outputs annually, as guided by the Research Outputs Collection Specifications (available at Research governance (Staff Connect) and Research outputs (Staff Connect)). Researchers are required to submit data on their authored research outputs to this annual collection in line with the Research Management Procedures (PDF, staff only).

4.36 UTS collects and reports data on all of its research income on an annual basis, as guided by the Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC) specification. Researchers are required to confirm that an externally funded research project meets the definition of research as per the HERDC specification.

4.37 Faculties must report to the Research Office and Graduate Research School on the departure of researchers from UTS so that any necessary amendments to research contracts, ethics, graduate research supervision or other reporting requirements can be managed.

Policy breaches and complaints

4.38 Breaches of this policy or its associated procedures will be managed in line with the Code of Conduct, Graduate Research and Supervision Policy (and section 11, Student Rules) or the guidelines for research integrity breaches (Research governance (Staff Connect)), depending on the nature and circumstances of the breach.

4.39 Under the Code of Conduct and the Student Rules, UTS may take action against researchers if they breach this policy or any other university requirement. Any such action may result in the imposition of sanctions up to and including termination of employment, appointment or engagement.

4.40 Researchers are expected to manage complaints in line with the following:

5. Policy ownership and support

5.1 Policy owner: The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) is responsible for enforcement of this policy, ensuring that its principles and statements are observed. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) is also responsible for approval of any associated university-level procedures and/or guidelines associated with this policy. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) is the designated officer for receiving research integrity complaints as required by the Australian Code.

5.2 Policy contact: The Director, Research Office is the primary point of contact for advice on implementing and administering this policy. The Director, Research Office is also responsible for maintaining the official file, for proposing amendments as required and for managing the consultation process when the policy is due for review.

5.3 Others

Associate deans (research) and institute directors are responsible for managing faculty and institute requirements in this policy and for promoting awareness of the responsible conduct and management of research at UTS. This includes responsibility for arranging data licence agreements for researchers who leave UTS but remain involved in a research project.

Manager, Research Integrity and Research Programs is responsible for managing complaints relating to research integrity, and for providing oversight and guidance in line with this policy to ensure that UTS research data is stored, retained, made accessible for use and reuse and/or disposed of according to legal, statutory, ethical and funding bodies requirements.

eResearch Manager is the primary point of contact for IT systems and storage advice in relation to research data management.

Manager, Research Finance is the primary point of contact for advice on direct and indirect cost implications, implementing and administering research investment accounts, financial acquittals of research projects and closure of financial activity codes for research projects.

UTS delegate (as outlined in the UTS Delegations) is responsible for approving research proposals, contracts and intellectual property arrangements in line with this policy and the Research Management Procedures (PDF, staff only).

Research project leader has primary responsibility for developing the research proposal and managing the research project, including financial and administrative aspects, and final reporting in line with this policy, the Research Management Procedures (PDF, staff only) and other research-related procedures.

All researchers are responsible for understanding and complying with this policy and associated policies, procedures and guidelines.

6. Definitions

The following definitions apply for this policy and all associated procedures. These are in addition to the definitions outlined in Schedule 1, Student Rules.

Affiliate is defined in the Code of Conduct.

An author is an individual who has made a significant intellectual or scholarly contribution to research and its output, and agrees to be listed as an author. This definition is taken from Authorship (an Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research guide).

Authorship is also further defined in the Australian Code.

Biosafety materials include genetically modified organisms, infectious materials, pathogens, ionising radiation and cytotoxic substances.

Client (also funder) means any individual or organisation that commissions or funds research, which may include UTS for internally supported research.

Collaboration (also research collaboration or collaborative research) means research conducted with any partner(s) external to UTS, including research organisations, industry, government and not-for-profit organisations in Australia or internationally.

Data licence agreement means an outline of permitted ownership, use of data and may include requirements for data access and/or data sharing. These should be developed in line with normal research contract arrangements and approved by a UTS delegate.

Full and transparent cost means all direct and indirect costs incurred as defined within the project's research contract and/or cost proposal.

Impact means the demonstrable contribution that research makes to the wider community (the economy, environment and society) beyond academic interest or discovery.

Intellectual property (also IP) is defined in the Intellectual Property Policy.

Material transfer agreement (MTA) is a contract that governs the transfer of tangible research materials from one organisation to another when the recipient intends to use it for their own research purposes. The MTA defines the rights of the provider and the recipient with respect to the materials and any derivatives.

Memorandum of understanding (MOU) is a non-binding agreement between two or more parties that expresses a common intention to act in a certain way. It is often used in cases where the parties either do not want or cannot create a legally enforceable agreement. For example, an MOU might be used to strengthen an existing informal relationship with another party.

Predatory publisher or conference organiser means an exploitative or opportunistic media company whose primary goal is to make money from researchers work and outputs. These companies normally have little or no quality assurance or peer review processes.

Primary materials are physical objects acquired through a process of scholarly investigation that may derive research data. Examples include:

  • raw physical materials such as rock samples
  • biological materials such as biospecimens, cell lines and related products (genetic material), or
  • physical artefacts such as film, photographs or recordings (not stored or available elsewhere).

Research at UTS is defined in the purpose of this policy.

Research contract (also contract, research project agreement or research agreement) means the written, approved, legally binding arrangement executed in line with this policy between UTS and the client. This includes but is not limited to a contract for research services, memorandum of understanding, data sharing agreement, material transfer agreement, an acceptance letter, work order or internal approval that commits the university to the receipt of funds or to otherwise undertake a research project.

Research data means data collected, generated or created during research, used to validate research findings and/or used to enable reproduction of the research. It can be digital, non-digital, observational, experimental, simulation, derived or reference material.

Research outcome is a change resulting from the application or use of the results of research.

Research outputs mean the variety of forms in which research can be made public. UTS recognises two broad types of research outputs: traditional outputs (for example books, journal articles, conference papers, monographs) or non-traditional research outputs (for example creative works, events, exhibitions, consultancy reports).

Research project means any research-related activity that has investigation as a primary objective, has a defined plan, methodology, resources, timeline and deliverables and has the potential to contribute new knowledge, both theoretical and practical.

Research project leader means the named UTS academic staff member with overall responsibility for the research project including the proposal, project management, research conduct, reporting and delivery of outcomes and for the listing order of research project members. For graduate research degree theses, the graduate research student is the research project leader. Research project leader is also called 'first named chief investigator' or CI as used by funding bodies or elsewhere in UTS research processes and systems.

Research proposal (or proposal) means an outline of a proposed research project or activity. Proposals are normally required for funding applications for competitive grants (including those that are led by another institution), tenders, contract research proposals, expressions of interest, intellectual property commercialisation and fellowships.

Research records means any documentation or information prepared, maintained or stored as evidence by the university or individuals for use in their work, and includes correspondence (hardcopy and electronic), grant application documentation, human or animal ethics protocols (applications, approvals and related documents), signed participant consent forms and information sheets for research participants, research data management plans, authorship agreements, technical reports, research reports (to project or funding board) and other items like these.

Tobacco industry means individuals, divisions of corporations and other entities that primarily manufacture, market or advocate the use of tobacco products; or any organisation, including foundations, which are funded by or directly connected to these individuals, divisions of corporations and other entities.

UTS delegate (also delegate) means the relevant holder of a position that has a delegation in respect of research management under section 5 of the UTS Delegations. In particular, those delegates listed in Delegation 5.2 (external research grants and agreements).

University consulting is defined in the University Consulting Procedures (PDF, staff only).

Approval information

Policy contacts Director, Research Office
Approval authority Academic Board
Review date 2023
File number UR20/1819
Superseded documents Research Management Policy (UR17/3686)
Research Ethics and Integrity Policy (UR17/3691)

Version history

Version Approved by Approval date Effective date Sections modified
1.0 Academic Board (AB/20-5/87) 11/11/2020 16/02/2021 New policy.
1.1 Director, Governance Support Unit 19/03/2021 01/04/2021 Minor amendments to include reference to new international collaboration and engagement site.

PDF version

Research Policy (PDF 246KB)

References

Procedures supporting this policy

Authorship Procedures (PDF)

Defence Industry Security Program Procedures (PDF, staff only)

Defence Trade Controls Compliance Procedures (PDF, staff only)

Research Data Management Procedures (PDF)

Research Finance Procedures (PDF, staff only)

Research Management Procedures (PDF, staff only)

University Consulting Procedures (PDF, staff only)

Internal references

Code of Conduct

Commercial Activities Policy and Procedures

Delegations

Graduate Research and Supervision Policy

Intellectual Property Policy

International collaboration and engagement: Regulatory considerations (SharePoint)

Open Access Policy

Privacy Policy

Records Management Policy

Research governance: Research Output Collection (ROC) Specification (Staff Connect)

Risk Management Policy and Procedures

Schedule 1, Student Rules

UTS 2027 strategy

UTS Research Strategy

External references

Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes

Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research

AIATSIS Code of Ethics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research

Authorship (an Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research guide)

Autonomous Sanctions Act 2011 (Cwlth)

Collaborative Research (an Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research guide)

Defence Industry Security Program

Guidelines to Counter Foreign Interference in the Australian University Sector

Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC) specifications

Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cwlth)

National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research