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.
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.
Contact us for Help
- UVA Policy and associated internal review/approval requirements
- Facility Security: UVA security resources, personnel clearances, training, visit authorization letters, etc.
- Rob T. Jones
- UVA Facility Security Officer (FSO)
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 434-297-7395
Procedures for proposing classified research at UVA:
Principal investigators are advised to plan on approximately 2 weeks to complete these procedures although reasonable efforts will be made to comply with applicable external timelines (e.g., sponsor imposed).
- An investigator contemplating submitting a proposal to conduct federal classified research, as defined in RES-003, Federal Classified Research, must first consult with the University’s facility security officer (FSO) to determine the feasibility of conducting the work at UVA. UVA facility clearance level, facilities, and capabilities will not be appropriate for all types of federal classified research and, in some cases, it may be necessary for the investigator to conduct certain activities at the sponsor’s or a collaborator’s cleared facility. Alternatively, UVA’s statement of work may need to be rescoped to exclude work that cannot be supported at UVA.
- After establishing the feasibility of the contemplated work, the FSO will assist the Investigator in developing both the formal proposal to the sponsor and the internal request for review and approval required by RES-003. The request must include the following elements:
- The name of the sponsoring agency or organization.
- An unclassified summary of the research to be performed.
- A justification of the project, its academic merit, and the restrictions on the dissemination of its results.
- Names of all UVA project personnel and their role (e.g., principal investigator, co-investigator, professional research staff, or graduate student).
- Plan for preserving academic freedom for all faculty and students involved (i.e., appropriate counseling regarding impact of the project on related dissertations, promotion and tenure, and student mentoring).
- The request will be signed by the investigator(s) and FSO.
- Once the investigator and FSO finalize the content, the FSO will route the request for review and approval in the following order:
- Department Chair(s) of the Principal Investigator(s). Responsibility: Assess academic merit, if appropriate, and alignment with the academic position and workload of the proposing investigator(s). The Department Chair(s) may express any concerns regarding alignment of the proposed work with the School’s mission and priorities, the University’s mission, and/or potential for compromise of basic human dignity and freedom but such concerns are not grounds for denial of the request.
- Dean(s) of the School(s) of the Investigator(s). Responsibility: Assess academic merit, if appropriate, and alignment with school mission and priorities. The review by the Dean(s) should consider any potential impacts on promotion and tenure for faculty and progress toward degree for students. The Dean(s) may express any concerns regarding alignment of the proposed work with the University’s mission and/or potential for compromise of basic human dignity and freedom but such concerns are not grounds for denial of the request.
- Research, Teaching & Scholarship Committee Representatives (Faculty Senate) – The representatives will be the RT&S committee chairs or their delegates. Responsibility: Assess the appropriateness of the safeguards proposed to preserve academic freedom for all faculty and students involved. The RT&S Committee will not be reviewing the academic merit of the research or its alignment with School-level mission(s) or priorities. The RT&S Committee may express any concerns regarding alignment of the proposed work with the University’s mission and/or potential for compromise of basic human dignity and freedom but such concerns are not grounds for denial of the request.
- Vice President for Research. Responsibility: The primary review criterion will be that the proposed federal classified research be consistent with the University’s pursuit of its mission and not compromise basic human dignity or freedom.
Note: Dean and Department Chair reviews may be conducted serially or concurrently at the Dean’s discretion.
Note: Units with a structure that differs from the above should obtain authorization from the individual’s immediate supervisor and the supervisor’s supervisor, in place of the department chair and dean. No substitutes may be made for the Faculty Senate or VPR reviews.
The FSO will work with the investigator to address any questions or concerns raised by the reviewers, incorporating appropriate changes into the document if necessary.
- If ultimately approved, the FSO will provide a copy of the summary and signed authorizations to the Office of Sponsored Programs for inclusion in the sponsored program files.
- If selected for award, proposals including classified research do not require additional review under RES-003 unless there has been a substantial change in the information previously provided for review. The OSP will consult with the FSO to determine if changes are substantive.
- The principal investigator is responsible obtaining the prior approval of the FSO before initiating any personnel changes. In addition to performing required facility security duties, the FSO will confirm with the appropriate dean(s) that any new personnel have been provided appropriate counselling or mentoring, as detailed in the plan for preserving academic freedom, prior to issuing approval.
Related University Policies: