DRI is committed to the implementation of a campus-wide compliance assurance program aimed at creating a "culture of compliance" throughout the institution. This includes distribution and easy access to written policies, procedures, and standards of conduct that promote adherence to the appropriate federal and state laws, as well as program requirements of federal, state, local, and private funding agencies and sponsors.

There are numerous different compliance regulations governing many different aspects of Research. Please use the categories on the right to find the area with which you need assistance. If you have questions about Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S), please call 775-673-7329. For any other concerns, please call the Sponsored Projects Office (SPO) at 702-862-5593 or the Executive Vice President for Research Office (VPR) at 775-673-7376.

DRI is subject to a wide variety of complex federal regulations prohibiting the export of software, technology and certain other materials outside the U.S. or providing them to foreign nationals.  Please be aware of these regulations.  Violations can result in jail time and very high fines.

Go to the Export Control pages for more information.

Animal Research Protection

DRI conducts a small number of research projects involving the use of vertebrate animals and is committed to the humane and judicious use of animals in all such projects. Therefore, DRI is committed to staying in compliance with all appropriate governmental laws, regulations, and policies regarding the use of animals for research purposes. These laws, regulations, and policies set standards in such areas as

(1) the composition and functions of an animal care and use committee
(including review of animal welfare considerations of all research and teaching protocols [including field studies] and semiannual facility and program reviews);

(2) procurement, transportation, and housing of laboratory animals;

(3) appropriate use of anesthetics, analgesics, and tranquilizers;

(4) use of aseptic technique and multiple survival surgery;

(5) consideration of alternative (adjunct) methodology;

(6) unnecessary duplication of research; and

(7) training of research and animal care staff.

It is rare for DRI researchers to conduct studies using vertebrate animals, and DRI does not house animals for research or training purposes. For these reasons and in order to ensure compliance, DRI has arranged with the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) to use its Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and other animal care infrastructure (see letter of agreement below). DRI faculty considering research using animals first should inform the VPR Office 775-673-7376 and then contact UNR's Office of Laboratory Animal Medicine (OLAM) at 775-784-4874. DRI faculty are required to strictly adhere to UNR's animal care policies and procedures in order to ensure compliance.

Additional Resources

All researchers that are considering using animals in their research should become familiar with the information on these pages.

Human Research Protection

The Desert Research Institute (DRI) is committed to staying in compliance with Federal Policy (Common Rule) and Department of Health and Human Services Regulations for the Protection of Research Subjects for the very small number of research projects we conduct that involve human subjects. These federal regulations are intended to implement basic ethical principles governing the conduct of human subjects research. The ethical principles are set forth in the report of the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research: Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research (the "Belmont Report"). No DRI faculty, staff, or students should be involved in human subjects research at any level without being familiar with these ethical principles.

Because DRI conducts very few research projects that involve human subjects, we have an agreement to rely on the University of Nevada, Reno's (UNR) Institutional Review Board (IRB) to ensure that all DRI research projects are in strict compliance. Please direct any questions you have regarding DRI's human subject research policy to VPR Office.

Additional Resources

Human Subjects Research - Ethical Principles

The information below summarizes in very general terms key points from the Belmont Report regarding human subject research.

I. Ethical principles:

  • Respect for persons - (1) respect individual autonomy; (2) protect individuals with reduced autonomy
  • Beneficence - maximize benefits and minimize harm
  • Justice - ensure equitable distribution of research burdens and benefits

II. Application of general ethical principles to the conduct of human subjects research leads to the following requirements:

  • Respect for persons - (1) informed consent; and (2) privacy and confidentiality
  • Beneficence - (1) risk/benefit analysis; and (2) scientific merit
  • Justice - review of subject selection.

III. Definitions:

  • Research - a systematic investigation designed to develop and contribute to generalized knowledge
  • Human subject - A living individual about whom an investigator conducting research obtains data through intervention or interaction with the individual, or identifiable information.

IV. Basic protections:

  • Institutional assurances - federal departments and agencies will conduct or support research covered by regulations only if (1) the institution has an approved assurance; (2) the institution has certified to the department or agency head that the research has been approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB); and (3) the research will be subject to continuing review by the IRB.
  • Institutional Review Board (IRB) - the IRB is an administrative body established to protect the rights and welfare of human research subjects recruited to participate in research activities conducted under the auspices of the institution with which it is affiliated. The IRB has the authority to approve, require modifications in, or disapprove all research activities that fall within its jurisdiction as specified by both the federal regulations and local institutional policy. Research that has been reviewed and approved by an IRB may be subject to review and disapproval by officials of the institution. These officials may not approve research if it has been disapproved by the IRB, however.
  • Informed consent - respect for persons requires that subjects, to the degree that they are capable, be given the opportunity to choose what shall or shall not happen to them. This opportunity is provided when adequate standards for informed consent are satisfied. While the importance of informed consent is unquestioned, controversy prevails over the nature and possibility of informed consent. Nonetheless, there is widespread agreement that the consent process can be analyzed to include three elements: information, comprehension, and voluntariness.

Ethics, Integrity and Conflict of Interest

Ethics and integrity in the conduct of research are critical to the scientific advancement of knowledge. As concerns about potential misconduct in the scientific community have increased, so has the need to articulate in a formal way the tenets of ethical practice. By reiterating these principles and defining scientific misconduct, ethical standards are reinforced and ambiguity is reduced. By establishing procedures for inquiry and investigation of allegations of scientific misconduct, equitable treatment is assured and self-regulation of the research community is strengthened.

Related DRI Policies
  • DRI Policies and Procedures for Ethical Research - Available in DRI Administrative Manual: "Ethics in research is the integrity in which the conduct of research through scientific advancement and knowledge is achieved."
  • DRI Policies and Procedures for Conflict of Interest - Available in the DRI Administrative Manual:  "Conflicts of interest are not necessarily unwarranted, unethical, or illegal, nor are they always avoidable.  Rather, it may be the failure to disclose conflicts or potential conflicts that is unethical and may be illegal under state and/or federal law."

Additional Resources

      On Being a Scientist: Responsible Conduct in Research
This booklet, produced by the National Academy of Sciences, discusses topics related to values in science, conflicts of interest, publications and openness, allocation of credit, authorship practices, error and negligence, misconduct, and responding to violations.

      Integrity in Scientific Research: Creating an Environment That Promotes Responsible Conduct. Online text of book from the National Academies Press.

      Office of Research Integrity - US Department of Health and Human Services
Federal policies relating to ethics, misconduct and handling violations .