Carnegie Mellon University

Information for Researchers

Find information you'll need to help you conduct research at our center.

Policies, Guidelines, and Required Training

When first starting research at CMU, whether you are a new faculty member, postdoc, doctoral student, staff member, or research assistant, there are a few key steps that must be completed before you can use CBDR resources and conduct research involving participants (formerly 'human subjects'). 

Before beginning this process, make sure you have familiarized yourself with current institutional requirements and training to conduct research. CBDR is a research center within Carnegie Mellon University and therefore complies with all Carnegie Mellon Institutional Review Board (IRB) policies and recommendations. All research conducted at CBDR requires CMU IRB approval. Other institutions' IRB approvals cannot be accepted as a substitute. Please review CMU IRB policies and guidelines.

The first step for most individuals involved with human subjects research is to complete the requisite training as outlined by the Carnegie Mellon IRB. This training can be completed in courses on the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) website ( According to CMU IRB policy, the training must be completed by anyone who will conduct research (including undergraduate RAs running participant sessions) involving human subjects, AND/OR see personally identifiable information about participants (e.g., names in a data spreadsheet, participant information in Sona Systems).

The CMU IRB requires that the “Social and Behavioral Basic Course” be completed to satisfy this requirement. Every three years, the “Social and Behavioral Refresher” course must be taken to renew the training certification.

In addition, anyone using National Science Foundation (NSF) or National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding or equipment funded by the NSF/NIH for research involving human subjects must complete the “Social and Behavioral Responsible Conduct of Research” course. Because some CBDR equipment and operations have been funded by NSF/NIH grants, both the Social and Behavioral Basic/Refresher and the Social and Behavioral Responsible Conduct of Research courses are required to use CBDR resources and must be completed before being part of research involving human subjects or personally identifying information of human subjects.

After completing the training, you must seek CMU IRB approval for your research protocol. CMU uses the SPARCS system for this process. Please refer to CMU IRB website for completing this step.

If you have any questions about this or other CBDR policy, please email Please refer to the other tabs in the Information for Researchers section for specific instructions on what is required and recommended to access various CBDR resources.

Steps For Completing the Required Training

  1. Visit
  2. Click on "Login"
  3. Click on "Login through my institution"
  4. Select Carnegie Mellon University
  5. Log in using your Andrew ID and password
  6. Once you have logged in, you will be direct to the page, "Select Curriculum." You can also find this page from the Main Menu by clicking on Add a Course.
  7. Under Responsible Conduct of Research, select Social and Behavioral Responsible Conduct of Research Course. Under Human Subjects Research, select HSR Basics for Social & Behavioral Research. For the purposes of doing research with CBDR, you can opt-out of other courses.
  8. Complete both of the following courses with a passing score:
    1. Social and Behavioral Basic/Refresher (required every 3 years to satisfy CMU IRB policy)
    2. Social and Behavioral Responsible Conduct of Research (required by CBDR to satisfy NSF/NIH policy)

If you do not have an Andrew ID and password, you can still create an account from the CITI homepage by clicking on "Register" and filling out the requested information. 

If you have programs creating an account or logging in, contact CITI support at or