Part Number: 3452

Department of Education Acquisition Regulation

3452.224-71 Notice about research activities involving human subjects.

As prescribed in 3424.170, insert the following provision in any solicitation where a resultant contract will include, or is likely to include, research activities involving human subjects covered under 34 CFR part 97:

Notice About Research Activities Involving Human Subjects (MAR 2011)

(a) Applicable Regulations. In accordance with Department of Education regulations on the protection of human subjects, title 34, Code of Federal Regulations, part 97 (“the regulations”), the contractor, any subcontractors, and any other entities engaged in covered (nonexempt) research activities are required to establish and maintain procedures for the protection of human subjects.

(b) Definitions.

(1) The regulations define research as “a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.” (34 CFR 97.102(d)). If an activity follows a deliberate plan designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge, it is research. Research includes activities that meet this definition, whether or not they are conducted under a program considered research for other purposes. For example, some demonstration and service programs may include research activities.

(2) The regulations define a human subject as a living individual about whom an investigator (whether professional or student) conducting research obtains data through intervention or interaction with the individual, or obtains identifiable private information. (34 CFR 97.102(f)). The definition of a human subject is met if an activity involves obtaining -

(i) Information about a living person by -

(A) Manipulating that person's environment, as might occur when a new instructional technique is tested; or

(B) Communicating or interacting with the individual, as occurs with surveys and interviews; or

(ii) Private information about a living person in such a way that the information can be linked to that individual (the identity of the subject is or may be readily determined by the investigator or associated with the information). Private information includes information about behavior that occurs in a context in which an individual can reasonably expect that no observation or recording is taking place, and information that has been provided for specific purposes by an individual and that an individual can reasonably expect will not be made public (for example, a school health record).

(c) Exemptions. The regulations provide exemptions from coverage for activities in which the only involvement of human subjects will be in one or more of the categories set forth in 34 CFR 97.101(b)(1)-(6). However, if the research subjects are children, the exemption at 34 CFR 97.101(b)(2) (i.e., research involving the use of educational tests, survey procedures, interview procedures or observation of public behavior) is modified by 34 CFR 97.401(b), as explained in paragraph (d) of this provision. Research studies that are conducted under a Federal statute that requires without exception that the confidentiality of the personally identifiable information will be maintained throughout the research and thereafter, e.g., the Institute of Education Sciences confidentiality statute, 20 U.S.C. 9573, are exempt under 34 CFR 97.101(b)(3)(ii).

(d) Children as research subjects. Paragraph (a) of 34 CFR 97.402 of the regulations defines children as “persons who have not attained the legal age for consent to treatments or procedures involved in the research, under the applicable law of the jurisdiction in which the research will be conducted.” Paragraph (b) of 34 CFR 97.401 of the regulations provides that, if the research involves children as subjects -

(1) The exemption in 34 CFR 97.101(b)(2) does not apply to activities involving -

(i) Survey or interview procedures involving children as subjects; or

(ii) Observations of public behavior of children in which the investigator or investigators will participate in the activities being observed.

(2) The exemption in 34 CFR 97.101(b)(2) continues to apply, unmodified by 34 CFR 97.401(b), to -

(i) Educational tests; and

(ii) Observations of public behavior in which the investigator or investigators will not participate in the activities being observed.

(e) Proposal Instructions. An offeror proposing to do research that involves human subjects must provide information to the Department on the proposed exempt and nonexempt research activities. The offeror should submit this information as an attachment to its technical proposal. No specific page limitation applies to this requirement, but the offeror should be brief and to the point.

(1) For exempt research activities involving human subjects, the offeror should identify the exemption(s) that applies and provide sufficient information to allow the Department to determine that the designated exemption(s) is appropriate. Normally, the narrative on the exemption(s) can be provided in one paragraph.

(2) For nonexempt research activities involving human subjects, the offeror must cover the following seven points in the information it provides to the Department:

(i) Human subjects' involvement and characteristics: Describe the characteristics of the subject population, including their anticipated number, age range, and health status. Identify the criteria for inclusion or exclusion of any subpopulation. Explain the rationale for the involvement of special classes of subjects, such as children, children with disabilities, adults with disabilities, persons with mental disabilities, pregnant women, institutionalized individuals, or others who are likely to be vulnerable.

(ii) Sources of materials: Identify the sources of research material obtained from or about individually identifiable living human subjects in the form of specimens, records, or data.

(iii) Recruitment and informed consent: Describe plans for the recruitment of subjects and the consent procedures to be followed.

(iv) Potential risks: Describe potential risks (physical, psychological, social, financial, legal, or other) and assess their likelihood and seriousness. Where appropriate, discuss alternative treatments and procedures that might be advantageous to the subjects.

(v) Protection against risk: Describe the procedures for protecting against or minimizing potential risks, including risks to confidentiality, and assess their likely effectiveness. Where appropriate, discuss provisions for ensuring necessary medical or professional intervention in the event of adverse effects to the subjects. Also, where appropriate, describe the provisions for monitoring the data collected to ensure the safety of the subjects.

(vi) Importance of knowledge to be gained: Discuss why the risks to the subjects are reasonable in relation to the importance of the knowledge that may reasonably be expected to result.

(vii) Collaborating sites: If research involving human subjects will take place at collaborating site(s), name the sites and briefly describe their involvement or role in the research. Normally, the seven-point narrative can be provided in two pages or less.

(3) If a reasonable potential exists that a need to conduct research involving human subjects may be identified after award of the contract and the offeror's proposal contains no definite plans for such research, the offeror should briefly describe the circumstances and nature of the potential research involving human subjects.

(f) Assurances and Certifications.

(1) In accordance with the regulations and the terms of this provision, all contractors and subcontractors that will be engaged in covered human subjects research activities shall be required to comply with the requirements for Assurances and Institutional Review Board approvals, as set forth in the contract clause 3452.224-72 (Research activities involving human subjects).

(2) The contracting officer reserves the right to require that the offeror have or apply for the assurance and provide documentation of Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval of the research prior to award.


(1) The regulations, and related information on the protection of human research subjects, can be found on the Department's protection of human subjects in research Web site:

(2) Offerors may also contact the following office to obtain information about the regulations for the protection of human subjects and related policies and guidelines: Protection of Human Subjects Coordinator, U.S. Department of Education, Office of the Chief Financial Officer, Financial Management Operations, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20202-4331, Telephone: (202) 245 8090.

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