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Human and Animal Research Policy

Bowdoin College is committed to the proper treatment of human and animal research subjects. All members of the College -- faculty and students alike -- are expected to show a decent regard for any sentient creature subjected to investigative procedures. The dignity and privacy of human subjects are to be respected. Unnecessary pain to any creature is to be avoided. Awareness and discussion of these issues are part of the professional development and responsibility of faculty and the education of students.

All empirical investigations involving human or animal subjects should meet federal and relevant professional standards, regardless of their funding, whether carried out by faculty or students. Members of the departments which carry out investigations using humans or animals should acquaint themselves with the pertinent standards. The principal responsibility for determining that an empirical investigation falls within the purview of government or professional guidelines lies with the principal investigator. He or she is also responsible for acquainting any student investigators in his or her charge with the relevant principles of, and guidelines for, ethical research and for monitoring compliance with them.

Different categories of investigation require different levels of review. Department chairs should be consulted first about whether or not any investigation meets the relevant standards. Classroom experiments and course-related projects need no further review. Research investigations by faculty and/or students engaging in independent studies or funded research must be reviewed by internal department review procedures if such procedures are available. Departments with members who regularly engage in such research are expected to develop and use internal review procedures and maintain a written record of such reviews for several years. These procedures will be periodically reviewed by the Research Oversight Committee (ROC). In the absence of internal procedures, the investigator must submit a written statement to the ROC describing the research and how it complies with pertinent professional standards. If at any point questions occur as to whether the investigation meets appropriate standards, the questions should be referred to the ROC.

All research using human or animal subjects funded by federal sources must be reviewed by the Research Oversight Committee (ROC). To initiate review for a project involving human or animal subjects by the ROC, the investigator should complete an Application for Protocol Review and 1) electronically submit the application to the ROC and 2) submit one hard copy with the investigator's signature on the cover page to Cindy Stocks in the Office of Student Fellowships and Research (108 Banister Hall). Applications and assistance in the preparation of the document may be sought from the office of the Dean for Academic Affairs or any member of the ROC. As required by the National Institutes of Health, Public Health Service and Department of Health and Human Services, the Research Oversight Committee will constitute the College’s Institutional Review Board. As the institutional review board, the Research Oversight Committee is responsible for passing on and monitoring federally-funded investigations in which the welfare of human and animal subjects may be at risk. Documents describing federal standards are available from the Dean for Academic Affairs or the ROC chair.