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Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research Compliance Committee
In October 2012, UND made a bold and innovative move to form the country's first Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Research Compliance Committee in anticipation of federal plans to regulate UAS in terms of privacy concerns and other social issues.
The UAS Research Compliance Committee is a standing committee of the Division of Research & Economic Development. The committee is responsible for reviewing and approving all research using unmanned aircraft systems conducted by any members of the University including faculty, staff, and students. No research will be undertaken without prior approval of the committee. The committee will consider the ethical consequences of the proposed research and will apply community standards in determining whether a research project may be approved. The committee will determine whether a proposed research project can be approved as described, needs modification to be approved, or will be denied.
University Committee Charter
Committee: Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research Compliance Committee (PDF Version)
Committee Background History
The University of North Dakota has been involved in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) training and research for a number of years, and awards the only fully accredited degree in this discipline. As a leader in UAS research the University has been working with a number of public and private groups to study specific applications for UASs in the national air space. Recently, it has become clear that some of these applications may raise ethical issues particularly with respect to privacy. As a consequence of the proposed uses at the national level, various groups have issued position statements and the US Congress is set to take up the issue of privacy with respect to UAS usage. As a leader in UAS applications the University has held meetings to develop a plan to address the ethical issues related to UAS research associated with UND. The committee outlined in this Charter is the University's response. It is based upon similar committees presently functioning under Federal regulations for human subject research, biological materials research, animal studies, and usage of recombinant DNA and is based to a large extent on community values.
UAS Research Background
The UAS Center of Excellence performs research and development on UAS technologies, applications and human factors issues and encourages commercialization of new UAS-related products and services. The UAS Center of Excellence also focuses on education and training for UAS integration into the national airspace system.
Classification/Terms of Charter
The UAS Research Compliance Committee will be a standing committee of the Division of Research and Economic Development. The Charter will be reviewed annually by the Vice President for Research and Economic Development.
The UAS Research Compliance Committee will review and approve all research using unmanned aircraft systems conducted by any members of the University including faculty, staff, and students. No research may be undertaken without prior approval of the Committee. The committee will consider the ethical consequences of the proposed research and apply community standards in determining whether a research project may be approved. The committee will determine whether a proposed research project can be approved as described, needs modification to be approved, or will be denied. If the Committee denies a research projects there is no appeal process. Any research project which the committee determines needs modification may be approved following completion of the required modifications. Depending upon the potential risk of the proposed research, the research may be reviewed by an exempt, expedited, or full board process. The Vice President for Research & Economic Development may veto approved research if the research is not in the best interests of the University.
The committee will report to the Vice President for Research & Economic Development.
Relationship of the UAS Research Compliance Committee to Other University Committees
Research that has been reviewed and approved by the committee may be subject to review and subsequent approval or disapproval by University officials or other committees.
The committee will consist of:
- Six appointees representing the University.
- Three appointees representing emergency responders.
- Three appointees representing local government.
- Three appointees representing the community at large.
The appointees representing the University may include but is not limited to faculty from Aviation/Aerospace Sciences, Criminal Justice, Philosophy/Religion, and Sociology. In the event of a vacancy, the Vice President for Research and Economic Development will cooperate with the Committee Chairperson in the appointment of a replacement as expeditiously as possible. In no event will one or more vacancies prevent the Committee from fulfilling its charge, provided that the University, emergency responders, local government, and the community at large are each represented substantially as provided herein.
In addition, the committee will have four (4) non-voting members including the Associate Vice President for Research and Economic Development, a coordinator from Research Development and Compliance, a representative from the University Police, and a representative from the office of General Counsel.
All members will be appointed in writing by the Vice President for Research and Economic Development.
Committee members will be appointed for three year terms with the possibility of subsequent reappointment.
The committee will be chaired by a University faculty member elected by members of the committee.
The Committee Chairperson, with the approval of the committee, may appoint standing subcommittees or ad hoc subcommittees. Each subcommittee shall be composed of at least three members. The Chairperson may appoint non-committee members to a subcommittee. Each standing or ad hoc subcommittee shall have those powers and that authority stipulated in the motion authorizing the committee. Each standing or ad hoc subcommittee shall serve at the pleasure of the committee.
Frequency of Meetings
The committee will meet as necessary to complete review in a timely manner of all research projects involving UASs but not less than twice a year.
Notice of Meeting/Meeting Agenda and Support Materials
The University community will be notified of meetings through announcements in the University Letter and Research Newsletter. Committee members will be notified through the office of Research Development and Compliance and will be sent all necessary supporting information concerning research proposals.
Minutes will be of sufficient detail to show attendance at the meeting; actions taken by the committee; the vote on actions including the number of members voting for, against, and abstaining; and the basis for requiring changes in or disapproving research.
Committee reports and recommendations will be prepared for and submitted to the Vice President for Research and Economic Development.
Document Management and Retention
The office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development will retain all records regarding research project applications (regardless of whether it is approved) for at least three years. For all applications that are approved and the research initiated, the Vice President for Research & Economic Development must retain all records regarding that research for at least three years after completion of the research.
A simple majority of voting members will constitute the necessary quorum for conduct of official business. Committee members who leave the room due to a conflict of interest cannot be counted towards quorum. If quorum is lost during the meeting, the committee cannot conduct voting until it is restored.
Amendment of Charter
Should any amendments to this Charter be required the Committee Chair will work with the committee in developing suitable language. Proposed changes will be submitted to the President for approval in a timely manner.
This University Committee Charter is effective as of January 22, 2013.
Form and Instructions
UAS Research Compliance Committee Research Project Application form:
If you have any questions, please contact Research Development & Compliance at 701.777.4278.