Advisors on Foreign Activities and Research (AFAR)
What is AFAR?
In response to the growing complexity and challenges inherent to leading and collaborating on research and other sponsored activities internationally, the working group of Advisors on Foreign Activities and Research (AFAR) has been established to increase, through coordination and communication, the level of support provided to NYU faculty and students involved in the conduct of research and other sponsored programs abroad. AFAR membership is a partnership comprised of representatives of the administrative support offices tasked with conducting a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis, assessing risks and providing a roadmap to identify infrastructure requirements in order to implement safe, legal, financial and ethically compliant operations in foreign locations. AFAR is supported as needed by faculty advisors experienced in the establishment of global academic programs as well as the conduct of international research.
What do Faculty and School/Unit Research Administrators need to know about how International Research and Other Sponsored Activities are identified, reviewed and processed by the Office of Sponsored Programs/Contract Office?
AFAR establishes a process for reviewing, assessing, and conducting implementation planning for extramurally funded research and other sponsored projects involving international research or other sponsored activities.
*The Office of Sponsored Programs tags every proposal and its associated record in CAYUSE that involves international research or other sponsored activities per the defined International Research Classifications below, which are reviewed by the OSP Project Officer assigned to support the initiating school/unit and by the Global Projects Officer who serves as the coordinating official for the Advisors on Foreign Activities in Research (AFAR).
International Research Classifications in Cayuse SP:
- Type A – Proposals in which NYU personnel or students are directly engaged in research or sponsored activities that are taking place in whole or in part outside of the United States.
- Type B – Proposals that include subaward agreements or consulting agreements with either foreign individuals or institutions or U.S. based individuals or institutions that will be engaged in research or sponsored activities outside of the United States.
- Type C – Proposals that are being submitted to a foreign sponsor regardless of whether the proposed activities will take place in a foreign or domestic location.
Who benefits from the AFAR review?
Deans, Investigators, post docs, students and staff benefit from proactive, coordinated and responsive institutional support for sponsored projects conducted internationally through the creation of a working group that will (1) actively engage with one another on an as needed basis to inform and advise the process, (2) identify point people from respective administrative support offices to take the lead on issues that require resolution with a focus on developing cross-functional teams and business processes that will result in efficiencies and models that can be scaled, and (3) communicate with Principal Investigators and decision makers throughout the assessment and implementation planning process.
What happens during AFAR review?
AFAR convenes as needed to review newly proposed global sponsored research activities and to advise on issues resulting from the expansion of existing projects conducted in foreign location(s). AFAR working group members engage in a dialogue to determine the questions to be asked and answered that address personal safety, conflict of interest, ethical, legal, financial, regulatory compliance (including but not limited to export controls) and other risks. AFAR makes recommendations on ways in which project-specific risks can be reduced, eliminated or managed in order to implement and manage the proposed sponsored project identified as uniquely challenging to the Investigator and/or posing a significant risk to individuals (faculty and staff as well as students), NYU or its collaborators. Principal Investigators actively participate by providing information that is responsive to AFAR’s questions and concerns. The administrative support unit representatives take ownership of that over which they have authority, determine resource allocation needed in order to address the issue(s), and present the assessment to the key decision makers for “go/no go” decisions.
Who makes "go/no go" decisions?
AFAR makes its recommendations to the Provost, Executive Vice President for Finance and Information Technology, Senior Vice Provost for Research, and Research Deans for vetting and approval.
How do Communications flow?
A continuous and timely feedback loop between the Principal Investigator and the OSP Global Project’s Officer serving as the liaison to AFAR members is critical to the success of AFAR’s role in 1) NYU’s successful launch of sponsored research activities conducted in foreign locations, especially in those cases where NYU does not already have a presence vis a vis an academic program or ongoing research projects and 2) post-launch program management activities.