Chapter 23 - Reporting Concerns and Undue Influence

General Information

The University of Pittsburgh strives to ensure a culture of compliance with respect to the protection of human subjects involved in research. Despite the best efforts of members of the research community, there may be instances where 1) an area of concern is identified related to the conduct of a study, or 2) an individual believes s/he is being subjected to undue influence. The mechanisms to report instances of noncompliance or undue influence are described in this policy.

Reporting Concerns

Concerns related to the conduct of human subjects research can be reported in a number of ways:

  • Contact Human Research Protection through
  • Contact Education and Compliance Support for Human Subject Research through
  • Utilize the University of Pittsburgh Concern Connection (see additional information below).

Undue Influence

If any HRP staff member, IRB member, Vice Chair or member of the research community believes s/he has been subjected to undue influence, they should report this matter to the IRB Chair, who will investigate the matter and, in collaboration with the Vice Chancellor for Research Protections (the Institutional Official), will take appropriate action.  If an HRP staff member or Vice Chair feels that the IRB Chair is responsible for the undue influence, this matter will be brought directly to the attention of the Vice Chancellor for Research Protections, who will investigate the matter and take appropriate action.  If the Vice Chancellor for Research Protections is responsible for the undue influence, the IRB Chair will bring this matter to the attention of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Research, who will investigate the matter and take appropriate action.

Pitt Concern Connection

University of Pittsburgh employees can use Pitt Concern Connection to report certain irregular or troublesome workplace issues so that they can be investigated and resolved.

Pitt Concern Connection is available to all full-time and part-time faculty, staff, alumni, and community members at the Pittsburgh and regional campuses and other off-campus work locations. Reporting parties can submit concerns anonymously or provide contact information with the report which can be made by telephone, text, or completion of an online form. Regardless of the mechanism used, reporting parties will receive a unique case number which will allow follow up information to be provided.

Issues that can be reported on Pitt Concern Connection include:

  • Financial improprieties, including fraud, theft, falsification of records, and improper use of University assets.
  • Human resource matters, including perceived harassment, discrimination, misconduct, and other workplace issues.
  • Alleged research compliance concerns, including conflict of interest, improper charging of grants, violation of human subject research regulations, and violation of other research compliance rules.
  • Other legal/regulatory matters, such as those pertaining to environmental health and safety.


Employees who report concerns are protected by the “Whistleblower Law” of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For further information about this law see the Staff Handbook.