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Training Requirements

Does the college offer human subjects training?

Yes. Swarthmore College subscribes to the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI), a self-paced, online program offering courses in many curricular areas. The “Social & Behavioral Research” course or its equivalent refresher course satisfies the training requirement for human subject researchers at Swarthmore College.

Who is required to complete the “Social & Behavioral Research” course?

Any investigator (i.e., Principal Investigators (PI), faculty advisors, and other key research personnel engaging in human subject research is required by the College to complete and maintain relevant training requirements. This includes any investigator who is or is not affiliated with the College and is working with a Swarthmore-affiliated investigator and/or is conducting research involving any population affiliated with Swarthmore.

When should an investigator complete the “Social & Behavioral Research” course?

The IRB encourages investigators to complete the course during the early stages of conceptualizing their research plan since the course was developed to enhance the integrity of the investigator and their research.

Does the “Social & Behavioral Research” course expire?

Yes. Once all modules within the “Social & Behavioral Research” course are complete, the training is valid for 4 years from the date a majority of the modules were completed. Investigators nearing their training expiration date are required to complete the Swarthmore “Social and Behavioral Research-Refresher” course.

How is the human subject training managed and tracked?

Once an investigator completes the “Social & Behavioral Research” course or its equivalent refresher course, a completion report is generated and saved under the user’s CITI account. When submitting to the IRB, investigators will be required to attach training completion reports for all researchers who will engage in human subject research (i.e., anyone who will interact or intervene with human subjects for the purpose of the research or who will be working with or analyzing identifiable human subject data) to the submission. The IRB will store all training completion reports within the IRBManager system.

Are there any other training requirements, besides the human subjects research protections training?

Training requirements may vary depending on the requirements outlined by your sponsor. Additional training requirements other than the “Social & Behavioral Research” course the College requires may not always be applicable; however, you should confirm this with your sponsor to make sure you are meeting the requirements. Any additional training requirements required by a sponsor must be provided to the IRB before approval may be granted. Some examples of additional training requirements include:

  1. Investigators sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) must complete Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training before engaging in any research. Learn more about the College's RCR policy.
  2. Any Principal Investigator receiving sponsorship from any federal funding agency must complete the National Institute of Health (NIH) Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI)  training before initiating any research.  Learn more about the College's FCOI policy.