Human Subjects Research Training and Certification

Before initiating research, researchers must complete an online training and certification course addressing ethical human subject research practices. (The course was developed by the Department of Health and Human Services, and is administered by the National Institute of Health Extramural Research office, to ensure compliance with ethical human subject research practices.) The training is commonly known as Principal Investigator Training (or PI training) in reference to primary researcher on a project. All key personnel involved in a project must complete this online training – that includes everyone who has contact with human subjects, with confidential data about human subjects, or data that was obtained from human subjects, for research purposes.

The training is relatively short (approximately two hours), and presents material about potential risks to and proper protections for human subjects. At the end of each section, the researcher must answer some questions (generally five or six) related to the material. The training process is designed to be most convenient. For example, if you need to exit the training before completion, simply log out; upon return, login (using your name and password) and you will resume the training where you left off.

When the course is completed, the researcher can generate and print out a certificate (PI Certification) which verifies that you have completed the course, and are now certified to conduct research involving human subjects. Researchers must submit a copy of this certificate to the IRB (either electronically or as a hard copy) in order for their application to be approved. Certification lasts for three years; certification must be renewed after that time for involvement in human subject’s research. The PI should retain a copy of the certificate for submission of additional IRB applications at a later date. The online PI Training and Certification can be accessed online.

You will first be asked to register your name and institution so that the formal certification can be registered.