If you plan to perform any research activities involving human subjects, it is critical that you and your team undergo training for the ethical treatment of human subjects. Here are three reasons why.
#1 Reviewers will take training and certification into account during the merit review process
Reviewers always review team qualifications and resumes during a proposal merit review. For human subject studies, the reviewers will want to see that human subject training has been completed. Showing reviewers your team has up-to-date training on human subjects research is a way to demonstrate you understand the ethics, risk mitigation, inclusion, and exclusion criteria required for clinical trials and also that you understand how to perform robust unbiased research with human subjects.
#2 You earn a certificate
Training is available in premium, and free modules and only takes a handful of hours to complete. When complete, trainees receive a certificate they can use to demonstrate their knowledge in an SBIR/STTR proposal. This certificate also looks great on a resume for future research participation. E.B. Howard Consulting’s personal favorite is the Office of Human Research Protection (OHRP) offers a variety of free online training modules for the research community on human research protections based on the principles of the Belmont Report and the requirements of the revised Common Rule (updated in 2018). Protecting Human Research Participants offers a paid course with a certificate as well, as does The Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI Program).
#3 Proper training ensures human subjects are safe and treated ethically
Even if reviewers were not concerned that research teams were certified for human subjects research, the teams should be. These are real people who could be harmed by unidentified risks, adverse events, or breaches of ethics. Researchers should also be concerned with removing any bias and ensuring experimental rigor, both of which are enhanced by the existing human subjects research educational programs.
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