Julie Cook has been named the director of the Privacy and Research Data Protection program, effective Jan. 30.

In her role, Cook will oversee the privacy and security of research data to ensure compliance with institutional, state and local, and federal privacy regulations. The program, housed in the division of Scholarly Integrity and Research Compliance, is one of six business units within the Office of Research and Innovation.

“Researchers are facing new challenges as sponsors increase data sharing requirements and data privacy regulations and policies evolve,” said Cook. “I am looking forward to working with the program’s team to identify new resources and improve upon existing methods to facilitate the work of our researchers. Together, we will develop processes and provide expertise that will help Virginia Tech researchers to meet data protection requirements of research activities.”

Cook also will collaborate with other divisions and units across the research enterprise to address data protection as well as data sharing across the life cycle of research data. In addition, she will implement privacy and data protection programs and initiatives, provide subject matter expertise and counsel to the Institutional Review Board and researchers, and create new and revise current university policies and guidance to assure consistency with privacy-related best practices and evolving external policies.

A member of the Virginia Tech community for over 20 years, Cook has a long-standing track record of working with human subjects and data privacy. She previously held roles as research associate, human research protection coordinator, and human factors engineer at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, one of Virginia Tech’s seven research institutes.

“Julie brings decades of experience collecting, managing, and sharing sensitive research data. Her expertise in finding the balance between data protection and ensuring data are shared in a way that protects privacy will be a great benefit to the university as we continue to grow our research portfolio,” said Lisa M. Lee, associate vice president and director of the Scholarly Integrity and Research Compliance. “Julie was a great partner for Virginia Tech Transportation Institute researchers, and we look forward to her providing collaborative support to researchers across the university.”

The Division of Scholarly Integrity and Research Compliance supports scholarly excellence at Virginia Tech by fostering ethical decision-making and ensuring research. With expertise in regulatory requirements to conduct research, the goal is to help researchers navigate the changing and complex regulatory landscape.

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