Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests

Faculty or departments may receive Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests from a federal agency.  Upon receipt of a written FOIA request, federal agencies are required to release the requested information unless it falls under one of nine exemptions listed in the Act.

Funded grant proposals and related information are included within the scope of information that can be requested through the FOIA process.  These requests are typically labeled very clearly as “FOIA” and are time-sensitive. If you receive such an inquiry, please immediately direct it to  The Office of Research Administration will coordinate with the relevant Principal Investigator member, UMS Counsel and all other relevant parties to assist with the submission and appropriate redactions.

Frequently asked questions

Q: If I receive a FOIA request from my sponsor, can I simply respond back to the sponsor if I am okay with the release of requested information?

A: No, the Office of Research Administration will respond to the sponsor after consultation with UMS Counsel and all other relevant parties to ensure all confidential, intellectual property and financial information is protected from disclosure.

Q: Can we ask who the requesters are?

A: Yes

Q:  Can we limit how the requester will use the information?

A: There is no way to control what people do with the information that is released. That’s the reason PI’s are giving you an opportunity to redact information they don’t want released publicly—as long as the information falls under one of the exceptions.

Q: What are the nine exemption categories that authorize government agencies to withhold information?


  1. classified information for national defense or foreign policy
  2. internal personnel rules and practices
  3. information that is exempt under other laws
  4. trade secrets and confidential business information
  5. inter-agency or intra-agency memoranda or letters that are protected by legal privileges
  6. personnel and medical files
  7. law enforcement records or information
  8. information concerning bank supervision
  9. geological and geophysical information