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Research Computing Support

Guide to Sensitive Information in Research

We know that research terms and processes are laden with obscure terminology and short-hand. Whether you are an experienced researcher or new to the field of research, it’s beneficial that you understand all of your options along with the required measures outlined in your grant documentation. Even more important, every researcher is responsible for ensuring the security of the data collected while adhering to UT policies, grant guidelines, and federal regulations for handling that data.

This website will help you navigate the various tools, products, and software you plan to use to conduct your research, along with the security measures that accompany those items. The information below will guide you through items to consider through any stage of your research. Some questions to think about:

  • What kind of data will you be collecting?
  • What software do you plan to use to gather your information?
  • Where will the data reside while you are collecting it?
  • Where do you plan to host the data while analyzing it? 

So, let’s get started.


Familiarize yourself with the common information data types related to research, the common references or acronyms, and the software options associated with each type.

What you’ll find in this section: By selecting Learn More, you’ll be directed to a page that provides a definition of the data type, examples, and a list of allowable IT tools and products that can be used in association with that data type.

Data TypeMore Info
Personally Identifiable Information (PII)Learn More
Protected Health Information (PHI)Learn More
Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI)Learn More
Export-Controlled Information (ITAR, EAR)Learn More
Export Administration Regulation (EAR99)Learn More
Sensitive Identifiable Human Subject Research Information (Human Subject)Learn More
Student Education Records (FERPA)Learn More
Open Research Information (Open)Learn More

What IT tools and products are available for use in your research?

Discover the various solutions available to researchers at the University of Tennessee. We’ve grouped the IT tools and products according to their primary function and data storage location including, Compute Resources (Cloud or OIT HPSC), storage options, communication tools, and software solutions. You will be presented with several choices based on your research needs and plans.

What you’ll find in this section: By selecting a tool or product, listed below, you’ll be directed to a page that includes a description of the tool, a chart that indicates whether that tool is permissible for each of the data types listed above, along with additional resources to support you with that tool.

IT Tools and Products

*About Research Software

Depending on your research, you may need to purchase a commercial software license instead of using the University’s academic licenses. The OIT Research Software webpage outlines specific academic uses allowed for all supported research software application available through the university along with additional helpful information.
Read more about academic software licensing to see if additional commercial licensing costs will apply to your research.

International Security Laws

To ensure anyone working with foreign companies or organizations are protecting themselves and their intellectual property, it is recommended they become familiar with the laws governing interactions, research, security, data, and technology with other countries. To help get you started, please see the following document addressing China National Security Laws.

Newly released information about China’s expansion of its Counter-Espionage Law can be found here.

Additional information about conducting international research is available on the University of Tennessee Research Security page.

Additional Research Support Services

OIT High Performance & Scientific Computing
Visit the website.
Submit a request with OIT High Performance & Scientific Computing.

OIT Research Computing Support
Visit the website.
Submit a request with OIT Research Computing Support.

Office of Research, Innovation & Economic Development
Visit the Research Integrity & Assurance website.