University Policies

Page Updated: January 22, 2020

As with most entities, there are specific rules that the University of Wisconsin-Madison must adhere. Some of these come from the State of Wisconsin through statutory provisions. Others come from rules handed down to the University of Wisconsin-Madison from the University of Wisconsin System and the Board of Regents. Still others were created by the shared governance of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In processing awards and award documentation, it is important to remember these policies as they may impact the terms of the award and how the award gets processed.

  • Academic Freedom: One of the main tenants of a university is to preserve the freedom of our researchers to explore their areas of research freely and without restriction. Coinciding with this freedom to explore is the unfettered ability to relay that information to the public at large. To provide for the freedom to explore and disseminate research results, the University of Wisconsin System adopted General Administrative Policy 342, which dictates that no agreement may be entered into with an extramural sponsor which prohibits publication of the results or which transfers ownership of the data.
  • Authority to Sign Awards: Under University of Wisconsin System Policy 13-1, as well as General System Policy 342 Section 6.A, the Board of Regents authorized the Chancellor to delegate contract signature authority to specific individuals. As a result, only individuals authorized by the Chancellor may sign awards binding the University of Wisconsin-Madison to agreements. Information on who has authority can be found here.
  • Data Stewardship:As as university, we have an obligation to assure that research data is properly maintained for review and use when appropriate. To that end, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Research Policy Advisory Committee adopted the Policy on Data Stewardship, Access, and Retention to guide how the University of Wisconsin-Madison should maintain research data.
  • HIPAA:University researchers often receive data from various sources to complete work in their labs. One possible type of data that may be received is protected health information. Due to the enhanced protections afforded this information by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), it is imperative that this information be protected propertly. To accomplish this, the UW-Madison HIPAA Privacy and Security Compliance Program has put out guidelines and policies for HIPAA protection, found here. Additionally, to track and ensure that the University is compliant with these requirements, the following routing process applies when receiving protected health information from a sponsor:
    • Data Use Agreements and Business Associate Agreements associated with receiving protected health information under sponsored projects must be placed in WISPER and routed to RSP for processing.
    • If a Data Use Agreement or Business Associate Agreements comes with an award, the Data Use Agreement and/or Business Associate Agreement will need to be placed in its own separate WISPER record and designated by the appropriate document type (DUA for Data Use Agreement and BAA for Business Associate Agreement).
    • If the document is an exhibit/attachment to a larger agreement, link the BAA or DUA WISPER record to the main agreement via the related record function of WISPER.
  • Regent Review and Approval of Awards: Under University of Wisconsin System Policy 342 Section 6.A.5, awards with private, profit-making organizations with a value of more than $1,00,000 require the formal approval of the Board of Regents prior to execution.
  • Self-Dealing Statute: Wisconsin Statute 946.13 prohibits contracts where a public employee negotiates or enters into a contract in which s/he has a private interest. However, there are instances where the law does allow for these types of contracts to occur, specifically when the contract is for research being done by the University. The process for getting this done involves communication with your dean's office and will require an exception letter to be sent to the Regents prior to execution.
  • Tangible Research Property: When conducting reseach, one possible end result is tangible property created or acquired as part of the research. In order to promote the need to be open in our research while also (among other things) complying with the terms of the agreement and securing intellectual property rights, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Research Policy Advisory Committee adopted the Policy on Tangible Research Property. This policy outlines ownership, access, and distribution of tangible research policy in order to address the university's numerous responsibilities related to tangible research property.

See also: Agreement Forms, Agreement Negotiation, Frequently Used Terms