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Student Training & Compliance

In order to participate in research, all students are required to receive appropriate training in health and safety, responsible conduct of research, and conflict of interest. Some training is mandatory, based on the nature of the project or the research project’s funding source. Students should consult their faculty mentor before beginning to work on any research project, to ensure that they have received the necessary training to ensure safety and compliance.  

Common types of training required at Virginia Tech include:

Safety and Health Guildelines for Educational and Research Activities

Research mentors are responsible for assuring that students obtain required safety training before entering any research lab. Virginia Tech’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) helps mentors to meet this responsibility by providing training sessions on a variety of hazards and situations. Students conducting research in the summer may participate in a general health and safety (H&S) training session offered during orientation activities on VT’s campus.

Students conducting research at other times in the year should speak to their research mentor about such training or can contact EHS directly

All undergraduates participating in research at Virginia Tech are required to complete Conflict of Interest (COI) training. This can be done online: 

Students must complete thistraining before engaging in any research activities. Upon completion of COI training, students are requested to print a copy of their completion certificate and give it to their program coordinator/manager.  

Please call 540-231-9376 or email with your questions about the COI program or requirements.

All participants in NSF, NIH, and USDA (NIFA)‐funded research programs are required to complete Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training. Students must complete this training before engaging in any research activities. The Office of Research will flag your faculty mentor’s grant if it is funded by any of these agencies. Failure of all program participants to complete RCR training may result in a freezing of program funds (for the entire program) by the Research Integrity Office.

For NSF participants

For NIH participants
For NIFA participants

For questions or more information on this program please email Tom Ollendick, Interim Research Integrity Officer.

If you have questions about tracking participants or the online training, please email Vicky Ratcliff, Manager of Research Education and Development.

Virginia Tech is committed to protecting the rights of and ensuring the safety of human subjects participating in research conducted by faculty, staff and students of the University and for research in which Virginia Tech is engaged. This commitment is vested in the Institutional Review Board for Research Involving Human Subjects (the IRB), and is guided by the ethical principles described in the “Belmont Report” and in applicable federal regulations. The VT IRB requires completion of human subjects protection training for all investigators (internal or external) of a project, including student researchers.

Training options may be found at the IRB website.

Related Training Virginia Tech is committed to a high standard of animal care and use, as well as a high standard of occupational health and safety for itsfaculty,staff and students. Quality training and educational activities are essential to help us to meet and exceed these standards. VT requires that animal users and handlers complete four training elements:

  • Core and Refresher IACUC Training
  • Virginia Tech‐Specific IACUC Training
  • Virginia Tech Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Education Training
  • EHSS Health Survey

Details of each requirement can be found on the IACUC webpage.

This is not an exhaustive list; there may be other required training sessions based on the nature of a student’s research project.

Human Research Protections Program Office Hours

The Human Research Protections Program (HRPP) holds open office hours every Wednesday in 3010 Newman Library from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. This is a time where personnel from the HRPP, IRB and PRDP are available to consult with student researchers on their projects.

Course Work Requirements

Faculty are encouraged by the University to ensure that a course marked for research follows certain definitions, which are stated below. These are also available through VT Registrar.

Courses that carry this attribute include meaningful participation of all students enrolled in this course in intellectual or creative activity, characteristic of the discipline. With faculty supervision, the student defines the topic, designs and carries out the methodology, and presents the results in a manner consistent with the goals of the activity and the course.

Courses that carry this attribute should include a meaningful participation of all students enrolled in the course in at least 15 hours of community service that is germane to the learning objectives of the course. The learning sites are normally off campus in community settings and the students are expected to engage directly with clients wherever possible. The participating students do so as volunteers in the settings but may receive grades for the course. This course does not have to be registered with the Service Learning Center.

Courses that carry this attribute should include a meaningful participation of all enrolled students in work experiences akin to internships (time in a work-place setting), or projects that have real-world clients, or products and outcomes, and/or engage students in activities that simulate workplace responsibilities and performance. The learning sites are normally off campus in work place settings though some on-campus activities may qualify. The participating students may be compensated and the courses may be graded and required for graduation.

Courses that carry this attribute should include meaningful participation of all enrolled students in learning activities outside of the United States. The activities should be germane to the learning objectives of the course and appropriate for the discipline. Faculty members directing these courses must be in compliance with university policies and procedures concerning international travel programs. The number of course credits should be proportional to the duration of the activity keeping in mind that a 1-credit on-campus laboratory course meets 30-45 hours per semester.