Important Notice About Student Research Projects

Students at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore who are conducting research that involves human subjects must go through the same process as faculty members or other UMES employees to secure IRB approval for their research.

When research projects involve more than minimal risk, the student cannot be the principal investigator. That role belongs to their faculty advisor or another UMES faculty member. When filling out the UMES IRB Application form, the student investigator is listed on the student investigator line and the student’s research advisor or other UMES faculty member is listed on the Principal Investigator line.

When research projects involve no more than minimal risk, the student may, in some cases, be listed as a co-investigator if the project is wholly generated and carried out by the student with little input or oversight by a faculty advisor. If a student wants to be listed as a co-investigator, he/she should provide a rationale for this role.

Important Message for Students Completing Doctoral Dissertations or Masters Research Projects/Theses

All student research and scholarly activities conducted at UMES, including student seminar or research papers, Master’s projects and thesis and dissertation research, and whether primary or secondary-derived research, must be conducted in accordance with Board of Regents and University System of Maryland policies.  For research involving animals, human subjects, or materials that may pose biological or chemical hazards, graduate students should seek information and guidance from the Office of Sponsored Programs.  UMES has established Internal Review Boards which meet periodically to review the aforementioned types of research protocols for compliance with established standards and regulations, including those established by Federal agencies (e.g., FDA, USDA, NIH).  Graduate students may seek guidance from the Graduate Dean and the Director of the Sponsored Programs office about scholarly misconduct policies and issues, which include plagiarism, improper credit citations, falsification or manipulation of a study, sources and data, intellectual property (copyright/patent) policy, among others.

If the thesis research involves the use of vertebrate animals, animal use protocols must be approved by the campus Animal Care and Use Committee.  If the thesis research involves human subjects, the research must be approved by the UMES Institutional Review Board. If the thesis research involves hazardous materials, either biological or chemical, or recombinant RNS/DNA, the research must be approved by the appropriate University committee.  These research assurances must be approved prior to the initiation of any thesis, dissertation, or other graduate study research, and the approvals must be provided to the Graduate School at the time the student submits the Nomination of Examining Committee form.  The UMES Office of Sponsored Programs is the contact office for guidance on and the processing of research assurances.

In summary, any research project using animals or humans must be approved by the appropriate Campus committees prior to the initiation of research. This applies not only to research conducted on campus but also to all research conducted under the auspices of UMES, that is by UMES faculty, students, or staff at other sites anywhere in the world.

In essence, what this memo means is:

  • All requests for permission to use human subjects in research must be obtained by the UMES IRB before beginning the research.
  • Retroactive approval from the UMES IRB will not be granted.
  • The Graduate School will not clear doctoral or masters research projects that involve human subjects without UMES IRB approval.
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