Research Ethics and Compliance

Undergraduate Research and scholarly projects may require compliance to meet state and federal regulations. Please keep in mind that some research compliance issues may take 6 - 8 weeks to be resolved.  We highly suggest students conducting any research or scholarly activities participate in CITI – the Collaborative Inter-Institutional Training Initiative  training.  This provides access to courses that are designed to be used by institutions and organizations to provide comprehensive training in a variety of areas such as Institutional Review Board (IRB), Good Clinical Practices, Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) and other areas (content borrowed from the FAU DOR website).  Please come to one of the Research Ethics Workshops for more information.

About IACUC 

Florida Atlantic University’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) has been established in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act and Public Health Service Policy on the Humane Care and Use of Animals. The committee is composed of individuals dedicated to the humane care of animals used in research and teaching, and provides oversight and assistance in ensuring compliance to all laws, regulations, and policies governing the care and use of research and teaching animals. FAU's IACUC is composed of scientists, non-scientists, veterinarians and community members who are appointed by the Vice President for Research, the Institutional Official responsible for the animal care and use program. FAU s animal care and use program is regulated by both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Public Health Service. University faculty, staff, and students using animals in research, teaching or display must have IACUC approval to do so.

About IRB 

Florida Atlantic University’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a federally mandated committee that oversees the ethical conduct of human subjects research at an institution. Florida Atlantic University’s IRB serves an important role in the protection of the rights and welfare of human subjects involved in research. The IRB reviews and approves protocols for research involving humans and ensures that appropriate steps are taken to protect their rights and welfare. FAU’s IRB is comprised of faculty members representing a variety of backgrounds, training and experience, as well as community members who are appointed by the Vice President for Research, the Institutional Official. If your research meets the following two definitions then you are involved in research with human subjects: "Research" means a systematic investigation designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge. "Human subject" means a living individual about whom an investigator conducting research obtains: 1.) data through intervention or interaction with the individual, or 2.) identifiable private information.

For more information visit FAU’s Research Integrity website at the following link:

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)

Institutional Review Board (IRB)  

Include but are not limited to:

  • Rodents (mice, rats)
  • Marine Mammals
  • Sharks
  • Fish
  • Birds
  • Non-human primates
  • Turtles and Tortoises
  • Rabbits

Subjects that do not need IACUC approval include but are not limited to:

  • Amoebas
  • Clams
  • Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly)
  • In vitro cell preparations using established cell lines
  • Insects, worms, jellyfish, starfish

Human subjects research can take many forms.  Some examples include:

  • Interviews
  • Surveys
  • Focus groups
  • Medical chart reviews
  • Participant observation studies
  • Data and tissue banks
  • Clinical or exercise studies











About EHS

The goal of Florida Atlantic University’s Environmental Health and Safety is to provide and ensure a safe and healthy environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors through comprehensive service oriented programs. EH&S is also the primary contact for federal, state, and local regulatory agencies regarding matters of health, safety and the environment.

With regard to Undergraduate Research, undergraduate compliance checks will be limited to training requirements, and any occupational health program requirements, i.e. bloodborne pathogens (HBV vaccination), respiratory protection (doctor’s clearance), etc. related to the research to be completed.  Additionally, during compliance checks of research laboratories EH&S will ask for a list of all personnel in the lab so that training status can be verified.

Many safety training courses are available through EH&S to assist in developing safety skills that will help when conducting research when using animals, chemicals, biological materials and much more. For most training classes, EH&S requires that initial training be done in-person in the classroom; thereafter, most refresher training can be accomplished online. Unless it is an extreme hardship, online training will not be allowed prior to classroom training; however, approval of the project can be granted upon the individual registering for the next available required classroom training(s).  The descriptions of the training programs are available on the website.

Questions to ask about your research project to determine if you may need EH&S review/certification/trainings:

  1. Does your research involve Biological Materials/Toxins, Human Blood, Select Agents or Recombinant DNA?
  2. Does your research involve radioactive materials, X-rays or lasers
  3. Does the project involve Diving, Snorkeling or the use of Boats
  4. Does the project involve the use of Hazardous Chemicals or Nanomaterials
  5. Does the project involve the production of flame, smoke or heat or any combination of the three
  6. Does the project involve field work (contact   
  7. Does the project involve the use of chartered Helicopters or Airplanes (contact

About IBC

The Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) has been delegated the authority to set University policy with regard to biological and recombinant DNA safety. The IBC must comply with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules. The IBC is responsible for overseeing the use of all biological agents and recombinant DNA methods employed in research and teaching projects on Florida Atlantic University's campuses.  If your research involves the use of Recombinant DNA, Biological Agents, or Select Agents, please contact Darlene Ward at for further assistance.  About IBC.

For a Printable version of this page please see Appendix B.

 Last Modified 5/17/21