Research Integrity: Safety & Responsible Conduct of Research
At Texas Tech, the Office of the Vice President for Research is responsible for overseeing Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR), compliance issues, human subjects and animal use, and the Office of Environmental Health and Safety.
Responsible Research Training
Texas Tech encourages all faculty, students and staff to participate in discussions and training about responsible conduct of research (RCR). A variety training opportunities are available to all members of the Texas Tech community.
There also are select activities and courses that count toward RCR training requirements. For information or questions, please contact the Office of Responsible Research.
To support responsible research practices at Texas Tech, the OVPR encourages use of iThenticate software to screen grant proposals and scholarly papers for plagiarism or misuse of text.
Investigator Financial Disclosure
Federal regulations require that Texas Tech have policies and procedures in place to ensure that employees disclose any significant financial interests that may represent an actual or potential conflict of interest in relationship to externally sponsored projects.
All investigators need to annually disclose significant financial interests with Texas Tech. The Investigator Financial Disclosure website provides instructions. For those who have NIH or other Public Health Service grants, Texas Tech follows National Institutes of Health guidelines for financial disclosure. Annual disclosure is submitted via the secure online questionnaire. Contact Kelsie.Jackson, for additional information.
Faculty or other personnel who have applied or plan to apply for NIH or other PHS funding must complete training and disclose business or financial interests before submitting proposals or receiving funds. Texas Tech's Financial Disclosure office offers assistance, information and training options.
Texas Tech Operating Policy 74.17 outlines the general university regulations and procedures regarding annual disclosure of significant business and financial interests as well as the identification of conflicts or potential conflicts of interest, which serve to protect the credibility and the integrity of the university's faculty and staff, as well as the institution, so that public trust and confidence in its sponsored activities are not compromised.
Human Research Protection Program
The Human Research Protection Program (HRPP) is the office that coordinates with the Texas Tech University Institutional Review Board (IRB).
All research involving human subjects at Texas Tech must be reviewed by the IRB. The IRB recommends that researchers conducting human subjects studies complete some form of training.
Not all studies require approval by the full IRB. The HRPP has created an interactive module to help determine if IRB review is needed. Step-by-step instructions and forms are available for requesting an exempt, expedited or full board review.
The Texas Tech HRPP office may conduct post-approval review of human subjects work.
Please note that Texas Tech's policies on human subjects may be different than your previous institution.
- IRB Deadlines
The IRB convenes the full board the last Tuesday of each month at 3 p.m. Full board proposals submitted three weeks prior to the scheduled meeting are assigned to an IRB primary reviewer. The researcher and the primary reviewer will work together to prepare the proposal for the meeting agenda.
- Expedited or Exempt Reviews
Human subjects research proposals submitted for expedited or exempt review are reviewed in a timely manner. Allow 3-5 business days prior to the review for data entry and file preparations. It is the mission of the TTU IRB to operate efficiently throughout the review process to support the research efforts of the university.
A list of regulations, reports, documents and website links important to human subjects research as well as necessary forms and research examples can be found on the HRPP website.
Animal Care Services
The Animal Care Services (ACS) office is charged with providing for the physical and psychological well-being of animals used in research and teaching. The office also aids investigators in obtaining and properly using animals.
ACS maintains responsibilities in animal procurement, animal housing and daily care, the provision of veterinary care, health surveillance and preventative care, assisting investigators and their staff with animal procedures, and the care, maintenance and replacement of equipment and facilities.
Please note that animal use and care policies at Texas Tech may be different than your previous institution.
The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) serves as the review body for animals used by Texas Tech faculty, staff and students. Texas Tech policy requires that the use of all live vertebrate animals for research, instruction, demonstration, production, or maintenance purposes by faculty, whether the animals are located in facilities at Texas Tech or elsewhere, be approved by the IACUC in advance of their usage.
- Animal Use Training – Occupational Health and Safety The IACUC requires all individuals that will work with animals through Texas Tech to complete the Generic Training Course. Additionally, all personnel working with animals must enroll in our annual Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) program. Before any animal work can begin the training and the OH&S assessment must be confirmed in the IACUC office. At any time an animal user can be reassessed by the OH&S program. Your completed quiz score for the Generic Training must be submitted to the IACUC Office via email or sent to mailstop (MS 43132). The OH&S assessment must be completed annually. Other trainings that are available are: species specific, emergency preparedness and CITI (Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative). Please contact the IACUC Office to learn more about these training opportunities.
- Meetings and Protocol Submissions
Meetings of the IACUC are held each month. Scheduled meetings are posted on the IACUC webpage. Regularly scheduled meetings that fall on a university holiday are ordinarily rescheduled. The IACUC Chair may convene additional meetings as needed. Protocols are either reviewed by a designated member review process or by a full-committee review process. The latter occurs at a convened meeting of the IACUC. Any IACUC member may call a protocol for full committee review at any time when it is under review. Protocols requiring full-committee review must be received at least seven (7) business days prior to a scheduled meeting date (i.e., the Wednesday prior to the week of the scheduled meeting) in order to be placed on the agenda. Protocols received after the aforementioned deadline may be deferred to the following meeting.
The regulations and guidelines that govern animal use at Texas Tech can be found here.
Protocol forms, annual review forms and protocol amendment forms can be found here.
Laboratory safety is a major focus at Texas Tech. As a result of a serious accident in 2010, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) conducted an investigation. Texas Tech has fulfilled all CSB recommendations and the CSB investigation was closed in June 2015. A website dedicated to the investigations and the university's response has been created. The university also maintains a Lessons Learned web page of incidents at Texas Tech and other institutions.
Laboratory Safety Manual
The university's Laboratory Safety Manual clearly defines roles, responsibilities and procedures around laboratory, studio and research safety. All faculty, staff and students who work with chemicals and/or other hazards in our laboratories, studios, shops and other facilities must design a safety plan that addresses the unique hazards in their research space. Additionally, awareness training will be required by your Department or supervisor. Please contact the Department of Environmental Health & Safety (email@example.com) with questions.
Environmental Health and Safety
The Department of Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) is responsible for a variety of safety, health and environmental issues at Texas Tech. Staff members have been assigned to specific areas to assist faculty, staff and students. The office also is responsible for hazardous and radioactive waste removal.
To help faculty and students report potential safety issues, EH&S has created SCAN, the Safety Concerns And Near-miss system. SCANs are potential hazards or incidents that have not yet resulted in any personal injury or property damage. You can use SCAN to report potentially unsafe conditions, unsafe work habits, improper use of equipment, use of malfunctioning equipment, or unexpected reactions – and EH&S will follow-up. SCANs can be anonymous.
The Environmental Protection section is responsible for the management of hazardous chemical and biological wastes; surveillance of campus food facilities, swimming pools, laboratory animal facilities, and underground and aboveground storage tanks; environmental complaints; coordination of pest control operations; and monitoring of storm water management activities.
Occupational Safety is responsible for monitoring compliance with federal, state and local safety and health regulations. Surveys may include but are not limited to noise, lighting, ventilation, chemical hygiene, hazard communication, airborne contaminants, and accident investigation. Training is provided in areas such as respiratory protection, hazard communication, and forklift safety.
Laboratory & Biological Safety
The Laboratory and Biological Safety Program promotes and supports a strong safety culture in Texas Tech laboratories, art studios and field research sites.
Institutional Laboratory Safety Committee
The Institutional Laboratory Safety Committee is a faculty-led committee charged with improving TTU safety culture in laboratories, art studios and field research sites. The Committee has developed resources for faculty and students.
Institutional Biosafety Committee
is a faculty-led committee charged with reviewing and approving research conducted with microorganisms pathogenic to humans, plants, or animals. The Committee has developed resources for faculty and students.
Radiation/Laser Safety Committee
The Radiation/Laser Safety Committee is charged with establishing policies and procedures in accordance with current regulations established by the Texas Bureau of Radiation Control (BRC), as well as providing administrative advice regarding radiation and laser safety and approving all applications, amendments and sublicense renewals relating to the use of radiation safety. The committee has developed resources for students and faculty about radiation safety and laser safety
The Radiation Protection Program serves a radiation-use program that is overseen by a Radioactive Materials Broad License issued to the university by the Texas Bureau of Radiation. Most of the radiation-use program currently consists of researchers using radioisotopes to label amino acids on proteins, nucleic acids, sugars and other molecules; and researchers using X-ray diffraction machines and small sealed sources. The use of ionizing radiation is important to academic research, and using these materials and instruments safely is obviously of equal importance.
Faculty and staff may download EH&S forms here.