How to Comply

Federal, state, local, university, and private funding agencies have rules about the conduct of research involving vertebrate animals; humans; radiation; recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules; pathogens of humans, animals, and plants; and toxins. The Office of Research Ethics (ORE) is here to help you stay abreast of the rules and to help you keep your research in compliance with applicable regulations.

Compliance Committee Approval

ORE provides administrative services for four research compliance review committees. If your research, teaching, or testing activities involve research in the areas listed in the table below, you must obtain approval from the appropriate research compliance review committee(s) before initiating the research and collecting data. All investigators -- undergraduate students, graduate students, professional and scientific staff, and faculty -- are required to obtain any necessary approval(s), regardless of whether their funding is internal or external.

Use the table below to determine where to obtain and submit forms for project approval.

If your project involves: You will need approval from: For more info, contact:

Live vertebrate animals

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)


IACUC/IBC Administrator

Human research participants

Institutional Review Board (IRB)

IRB Forms

IRB Administrator

Radioisotopes or radiation producing devices

Radiation Safety Committee (RSC)

RSC Forms

Radiation Safety Officer

Use of recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules, including transgenic animals or plants; use of human or animal pathogens (e.g., bacteria, viruses, prions, parasites); use of soil, seed, plants, plant pathogens (e.g., bacteria, viruses, or parasites) or other material received under a USDA APHIS compliance agreement or permit; use of biological toxins; administration of experimental biological products to animals; field releases of plant pests received under a USDA APHIS PPQ permit; field releases of genetically modified organisms that are under a USDA APHIS PPQ or BRS permit or notification (e.g., not commercially available GMOs).

Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)

IBC Forms

IACUC/IBC Administrator

Import from a foreign country, interstate transport, field test of biohazards (i.e., federal permit requirements)  

Industrial Hygienist

Note: While the discussion below gives an overview of the general approval process, each committee has its own unique requirements and timelines. For more detailed information about a particular committee's approval process, please contact the committee office or visit the committee's web pages.

Changes to a Study

If you wish to make any changes to an approved protocol, it is your responsibility as principal investigator to notify the committee(s) of the changes and to obtain approval before implementing them.

Continuing Review

When you obtain approval from the appropriate research compliance review committee(s), it will be granted for a specific period of time; each committee has different time requirements for submission of renewal applications. In most cases, federal law or guidelines require continuing review of active research projects at least annually to ensure that they are still compliant with the applicable regulations. As a courtesy, the committee administrator will notify you of the approaching continuing review date. However, you are responsible for submitting the continuing review application in time to permit its review and approval prior to the expiration date.

If the committee does not receive and approve an application renewal before the expiration date, the approval for the project will lapse, and all research, teaching, or testing-related activities for the project must stop until approval is once again granted. In order to reestablish approval, you may be required to submit a new application for the committee's review and approval.

This renewal process does not apply to projects approved by the Radiation Safety Committee (RSC). The Department of Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) was empowered by the RSC to provide continuous oversight of authorized radiation users. Each authorization is reviewed on a quarterly basis to ensure compliance. Those users who are not compliant will have their authorization for use of radioisotopes or radiation-producing devices revoked and must follow the procedures established by the ORE and EH&S to reobtain approval.

Project Closure

Once a project is complete, you should notify the appropriate review committee(s) so that the file can be moved to inactive status.

Training Requirements

Training for investigators and key personnel is often required by the federal regulations for each of the research areas listed above. Also, remember to retain documentation of research-related education or training that you receive, as well as documentation of any training that you provide for your laboratory or project personnel.