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General Policies Regarding Research :

Policy/Guideline Area

Academic Policies

Applicable Divisions

TCATs, Community Colleges


It is the intention of the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) that the institutions under its jurisdiction adhere to federal standards on the ethical conduct of research.  Each TBR institution is responsible for promulgating policies that serve to effectuate federal law and regulations regarding all applicable aspects of research.

This policy specifically addresses human subjects, animal subjects, and technology transfer; it is not meant to supplant federal regulations. Due to the complexity of the field of research, institutions and their faculty or staff engaged in conducting research are referred to the federal regulations, policies, and guidelines.


  1. Protection of Human Subjects in Research
    1. Research involving human subjects must comply with the standards concerning the conduct of research involving human subjects established by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) within the “Protection of Human Subjects” (Title 45 CFR, Part 46).
    2. This policy does not cover use of non-confidential data available under the Tennessee Public Records Act.
    3. Each institution, as well as the TBR system office, will place into effect an institutional review board (IRB) and the necessary procedures to ensure that the rights and welfare of human subjects are properly protected.
      1. Research involving human subjects conducted by personnel affiliated with the TBR system must be reviewed and, when appropriate, approved pursuant to 45 CFR 46.111 by all appropriate IRBs.
      2. Research conducted by persons not affiliated with TBR who are seeking to conduct human research utilizing individuals, groups, or existing confidential data within the TBR system must obtain IRB approval pursuant to 45 CFR 46 .111 from the appropriate institution where the research will be conducted.
      3. Researchers publishing data analyses or reporting from data obtained from the TBR System Office or TBR institutions, either electronically or in print, must comply with the federal guidelines in the protection of editable, small cell data, including but not limited to the federal Gramm Leach Bliley Act, 15 U.S.C. 6801-6809 (see TBR Guideline G-030, Section (III)(I)).
    4. All researchers utilizing students, faculty, or staff as research subjects/participants or student/faculty/staff personally identifiable data, within the TBR system, will submit requests for IRB approval to all relevant campuses and the TBR Office of Academic Affairs, as appropriate.
    5. If utilizing the Regents Online Degree Program (RODP) confidential data, the IRB request must be submitted to the TBR Office of Academic Affairs.
    6. All requests for TBR system confidential data by researchers (students, TBR personnel and non-TBR personnel) must be reviewed by the TBR IRB.
  2. Policy for Use of Animals for Research
    1. Depending on the animal definition, the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (1996 or the most current version published by the Institute of Laboratory Animal Research, Commission on Life Sciences, National Research Council) and/or the Animal Welfare Act (Title 9 CFR Chapter 1 Subchapter A) shall be the criteria for researchers to follow regarding the humane treatment of animals for scientific research purposes throughout the TBR system institutions.
    2. Each researcher engaged in such research is personally responsible for obtaining, perusing, and applying the principles, standards, and procedures of the Guide.
    3. Individual campuses will be required to place into effect an Institutional Animal Care Use Committee (IACUC), if relevant.
      1. Campuses should review the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) policy to determine the need for an IACUC.
      2. Campuses should be aware of the need to file an assurance with the agency prior to obtaining funds with said agency.
      3. Campuses should be aware that there are reporting requirements with the USDA for all animals that fall under its definition.
  3. Technology Transfer
    1. TBR institutions must comply with federal laws concerning the protection of national security and military secrets by preventing foreign governments from accessing military and other technologies via the research processes of American universities.
    2. All institutions will have policies at the level appropriate for the specific institution in relation to the transfer of technology. These policies must comply with the provisions of the Arms Export Control Act, 22 U.S.C. 2778. 


New Policy approved at TBR Board Meeting September 25, 2009