Reporting Research Safety Compliance

Reporting Research Safety Compliance

Forwarded message from Dr. Doug Gage, Interim Vice President for Research & Innovation at Michigan State University. Sent Friday, July 17 2020

Dear Colleagues,

Michigan State University has taken significant strides to re-activate on-site research on the MSU campus and in facilities across the state as part of the broader reopening process. More than 30 laboratory research buildings and 550 labs are now open for operation under modified conditions.

Safety has been the priority throughout this effort.

Recently, representatives of campus graduate research assistants and of postdoctoral research associates have raised concerns regarding potential instances of apparent non-compliance with federal, state or university health and safety constraints. Questions have arisen about mechanisms by which non-compliance may be reported without retribution against junior personnel and students.  We take every safety violation seriously and our first priority is always to remediate the issue.

In the interest of transparency and accountability, MSU provides a variety of administrative contact points to which complaints on unsafe research practices may be addressed, according to the reporting individuals’ personal comfort levels. They include:

  • the advisor or laboratory PI
  • the chairpersons and graduate associate chairpersons in departments and schools,
  • the deans and associate deans in the colleges,
  • the Office of Regulatory Affairs (517-432-4500)
  • the Office of Research & Innovation (517-355-0306 during office hours, or 517-285-5646 any time), and
  • the MSU Misconduct Hotline at 1-800-763-0764, where anonymous reports will be immediately directed to MSU Environmental Health and Safety.  (Explanation, and information on anonymous reports, may be found at .)

As we move forward, we will continually assess the campus research safety protocols knowing that the federal and state constraints will likely change and necessitate modifications and new communications.

Ultimately, collegiality and a commitment to protect fellow researchers and the broader community through our own behavior will be the best guarantees of research continuity and community safety.  However, no one should be expected to endure unsafe conditions that are preventable, nor should they fear retaliation for bringing such issues forward.  MSU must and will respond if they are brought to institutional attention.  Please communicate this information to your units.

With very best regards,

Douglas A. Gage
Interim Vice President for Research & Innovation



If you have concerns, you can reach out to Dr. Aaron Reifler (, Director of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.