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Research protocol at SHSU to be audited

Contributing Reporter

Published: Thursday, February 20, 2014

Updated: Thursday, February 20, 2014 00:02

While many different programs at Sam Houston State University get audited each year, 2014 marks the first time for the Research Compliance Protocol (RPC).

The protocol compliance audit is among 18 other planned audits on SHSU’s Fiscal Year 2014 Audit Plan.

The Office of Audits and Analysis is independent of SHSU management since they report to the Texas State University System. Director of Audits and Analysis Kelly Bielamowicz said the RPC is on the audit plan because it has not been audited before.

The auditor office’s process for carrying out audits is different depending on what kind it is. According to Bielamowicz, since RPC falls under compliance reviews, an audit will determine the degree of compliance with applicable laws, regulations, policies and procedures.

Delia Gallinaro, executive director for the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP), said the research department has been operating under compliance by federal law.

“I think we make a very good effort to address all the compliance areas that we are required to oversee,” Gallinaro said.

Gallinaro said that in the past year the ORSP has implemented two new compliance areas, the Responsible Conduct in Research Compliance and the Conflict of Interest Compliance.

The Responsible Conduct in Research Compliance requires anyone on campus who works with National Science Foundation grants to be certified. The certification is earned after taking a research ethics class, and an online module is in place for everyone to be certified.

The Conflict of Interest Compliance is also mandated by the federal government to ensure there is no financial gain from a researcher board.

Although the research department has been under compliance, there has only been one reported accident, according to Gallinaro.

“There was an issue with the air conditioning unit, and some frogs died that were being used as an experiment,” she said. “It was reported to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.”

According to Bielamowicz, the Office of Audits and Analysis’s job is to provide the Texas State University System with objective evaluations of SHSU’s programs. The Audit Plan is based on input from management to identify those programs for which an independent assessment would be the most beneficial. Even programs that have not been audited in the past are up for inclusion.

Bielamowicz said programs appearing on the audit plan does not necessarily mean there are issues present. Instead, it helps her office manage resources.

Programs are not regularly scheduled for audits, so it is normal to see new programs up for audit for the first time. As for the research compliance audit, there have been no problems officially addressed in the past, according to Gallinaro.

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