I am an assistant professor; submitted an internal grant proposal. It had been rejected. Meanwhile I realized that my Dept. chair submitted my proposal to an external grant (listed herself as PI and me as CO-PI); she has been recently awarded.

My chair was really brutal to protect herself in this matter: forced me to say that I asked her to do & she got a new IRB for the same proposal to put herself as PI. Definitely I needed to argue with her regarding her misbehavior.

Then today she informed that my appointment would not be renewed; so I am in the situation to leave right after developing the survey and collecting data (in the middle of the grant).

What should I do? Is there any way I can protect my research rights?

Any advice will be truly appreciated!

  • What should I do? -- I'd think that a good first step would be to stop working on all grant related matters, immediately.
    – Mad Jack
    May 19, 2018 at 1:34
  • The chair is trying to hire someone who can complete the study without me - the candidate did on-campus visit already.
    – question
    May 19, 2018 at 2:38
  • 3
    The granting agency the grant is from should have an office that investigates grant misconduct. I suggest you contact them. (For the NSF in the US, this is the Office of the Inspector General.) May 19, 2018 at 3:08
  • 1
    Aside from your research question, if this is the US you should probably get a lawyer that specializes in employment issues. Within the university the chair probably has all the advantage (not just via the rules but via the ability to bend them and call on allies). May 19, 2018 at 3:29
  • 1
    Can you protect your data? If no one else has it yet... may not be legal but in this situation, protect first if you can...
    – Solar Mike
    May 19, 2018 at 5:53

1 Answer 1


If you have been informed that your contract isn't being renewed, then the question is how badly you want to burn any bridges. However, I suspect that your chair is going to be of no use to you in any event.

The first thing you need to do is collect all of your records related to the grant. Any email, correspondence, etc.—anything that shows you were the real originator of the grant, and that she basically stole the work. I would also include the correspondence showing that your contract will not be renewed, as well as the visit of your future replacement. All of this shows dishonest intent on the part of your chair. This evidence should then be sent simultaneously to:

  • the dean of your college;
  • whoever is responsible for research across the university;
  • the chief administrative officer of the university;
  • the agent in charge of the section at the agency who awarded the grant; and
  • the office at the grant agency responsible for investigations into the grant.

The way you have been treated is reprehensible and the chair under no circumstances should be allowed to "skate free."

It also goes without saying that you should not do any further work related to this grant. You should also find a good lawyer.

  • 6
    This answer assumes you are working in a country where people are generally honest, and the presumption that your chair is a lone corrupt actor is likely correct. If you are in a country where everyone is likely to be corrupt (and some elements of the original story suggest this may be the case), you may wish to tread more carefully. May 19, 2018 at 4:00

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