U releases final plan to strengthen human research protections

The $7.8 million plan calls for a tougher review board and more requirements for reporting conflicts of interest.

Ethan Nelson

The University of Minnesota released its final plan Tuesday to tighten protections for human subjects in research.

The plan calls for the creation of an outside review board and stricter requirements for researchers reporting conflicts of interest. The changes outlined in the plan would also strengthen the Institutional Review Board, which is in charge of reviewing studies that involve human subjects.

The plan, which comes after a two-week public comment period, would cost $7.8 million over the next two years.

A group of University officials, professors and outside experts worked on the plan, which is the result of a decade of criticism of the school’s human research practices following the 2004 suicide of Dan Markingson who was enrolled in a psychiatric drug trial when he died.

The University started reviewing its human research program this spring and halted psychiatric drug studies, following harsh reports from the state legislative auditor and a review overseen by an outside organization.

 “Our faculty are on the front lines of the battle against cancer, diabetes, neurological conditions and other illness and disease and these improvements can give everyone confidence that we are doing that work ethically, humanely and appropriately,” President Eric Kaler said in a statement.

The plan will be presented before the Board of Regents during its meetings Thursday and Friday.