Classified Research

Classified Research

It is the policy of the University of Virginia to encourage the greatest possible freedom of communication of ideas and information in all areas of academic endeavor. However, in some instances, academic inquiry produces results, the full and immediate disclosure of which would be detrimental to the national security of the United States of America. In such cases, it may be appropriate for the University to accept certain limitations on the communication of research results.

Each proposed classified research project will be considered on its own merits. The process by which the University shall decide whether to approve a particular classified research project proposed by a member of its faculty is included in this policy. Among the factors to be considered in determining whether a particular classified research project is acceptable to the University are the academic merit of the proposed research, the compatibility of the proposed research with the mission of the University, the nature of the restrictions placed on communication of research results, and the contribution of the proposed research to the benefit of humanity.


University Policy

National Industrial Security Program (NISP) Manual

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Procedures for conducting classified research at UVA:

A faculty member desiring to engage in classified research will notify the appropriate department chair and dean of this intention, providing each of them with an unclassified description of the project and a plan for preserving academic freedom for all faculty and students involved. The plan will specifically include appropriate counseling regarding the impact of the project on related dissertations, promotion and tenure, and student mentoring.

The chair and dean will be responsible for making sure that all involved faculty and students have received the appropriate counseling for preserving academic freedom. The dean will then provide the designated representatives (2) of the Faculty Senate R&S Committee with the unclassified description of the project and a letter enumerating what safeguards are in place to preserve academic freedom for all faculty and students involved. The R&S Committee designated representatives (2) will recommend additional steps if necessary to the dean to assure that all appropriate counseling has occurred. The R&S Committee will not be reviewing the academic merit of the research.

After acting on the recommendations on the preservation of academic freedom from the R&S Committee designated representatives (2) the dean will forward the unclassified proposal to the Office of Sponsored Programs for initial review of contract terms and requirements. The faculty member is required to submit a written description and justification of the project, its academic merit, and the restrictions on the dissemination of its results. This classified proposal will be submitted to the Vice President for Research for review and approval. The primary review criterion will be that the proposal be consistent with the University’s pursuit of its mission and not compromise basic human dignity or freedom. If the project is approved by the Vice President for Research it will be processed through the normal sponsored program process. The Office of Sponsored Programs will receive only an unclassified version of the proposal.

The faculty member shall annually inform, in writing, the dean and Vice President for Research of any changes in faculty and students working on the project so the dean can ensure that appropriate counseling for preserving academic freedom has occurred.

Related Information:

HRM-045, Faculty External Consulting and Internal Overload