Safety & Travel Requirements
Students are not authorized to begin UROP research until all department and EHS safety training requirements have been fulfilled.
In those cases where travel related to UROP is required, participants must follow all MIT travel policies and reporting requirements.
Environment Health and Safety (EHS) & Lab Supervision
UROP participants often use or work near materials, equipment, or energy that may be potentially hazardous to themselves, others, and/or the environment. The privilege of working with these potentially hazardous substances bears a responsibility on the part of the UROP student as well as the host laboratory.
The PI/Supervisor of the laboratory is ultimately responsible for the health and safety of everyone in his or her laboratory, including employees and undergraduate researchers (UROPs).
It is expected that UROP students will be supervised at all times while in the laboratory or other potentially hazardous environments. Therefore, a UROP student should not be assigned to be a supervisor, even of other UROPs or high school students.
Supervision of UROP students must conform to the MIT Policy on Working Alone. Please see the CAB/ESCRO policy for students working in biological research laboratories for specific requirements. The MIT Committee on Radiation Protection restricts undergraduates from the unescorted use of gamma irradiator facilities. All other restrictions for undergraduates are listed as specific conditions of approval with their respective PI’s authorization.
Responsibilities of UROP participants are as follows:
- Complete the EHS Training Needs Assessment on the EHS Office’s training web site. Your EHS Representative will help you identify the specific training regiments based on the potential hazards used in your project to determine what trainings are required before your work starts. See the team contact list and Department coordinator chart for contact information for your department’s safety staff.
- Please review the Common EHS training requirements by course PDF that lists the training generally required to work in these areas. NOTE: this is not a comprehensive list, so be sure to consult your UROP supervisor regarding required training.
- UROP students should also receive a Lab Specific Training from their PI/Supervisor or from the lab’s EHS Representative. The goal of this Lab Specific Training is to familiarize you with the potential hazards that exist in your specific laboratory, to identify ways to minimize the hazards of your UROP project, and to provide an opportunity for you to learn the correct lab practices that can be carried forward as your career progresses. As part of your orientation, you should be taught the lab’s specific safety policies and procedures and receive a tour of the lab. This includes evacuation routes, safety equipment, personal protective equipment, and proper disposal procedures for the types of waste generated in your laboratory.
See the MIT EHS site for complete information. See also the EHS COVID-19 FAQ for details regarding EHS resources and information in light of COVID-19. Also see the Remote Making site for additional guidance.
Use of Humans as Experimental Subjects
Any research conducted at MIT or by MIT personnel that uses humans for research subjects, or experiments that utilize donated blood or tissue must first be cleared with the Committee on the Use of Human Experimental Subjects (COUHES).
COUHES UROP Details
Projects that involve questionnaires, market surveys, and non-invasive experiments in the social sciences also require approval by COUHES. UROP work that fits these categories must be approved by COUHES. It is the responsibility of the project supervisor to seek COUHES approval for the project, which includes UROP work.
Additional information can be found on the COUHES website.
Care of Laboratory Animals
Students working in research laboratories using animals are obligated to receive training in handling animals and humane practices in research.
Committee on Animal Care
Laboratory directors should contact the CAC office to confirm or arrange student training before participation in animal research begins.
Be sure to follow the instructions provided in the CAC Policy on Undergraduate or UROP Participation in Research before beginning any animal research. You cannot begin participation in animal research until an approval notice is received from the CAC.
Additional guidelines apply when students must travel as part of their UROP, which would be considered MIT-related travel. All MIT-related travel that is more than 100 miles from MIT’s Cambridge campus, including any “side trips,” must be registered in the MIT Travel Registry. Students must adhere to all applicable MIT student travel policies and requirements – details of which can be found here.
Note: Special restrictions apply to off-campus research conduced outside of the US, please see the Remote Appointment Guidance page for details.
Travel-related policies and requirements:
MIT Global Support Resources. Up-to-date MIT travel policies and requirements for students and other MIT community members. This site also has critical information and resources for travelers that includes international travel risks and policies, emergency resources, and more. All travelers should review this information when planning travel.
MIT Travel Registry. All UROP travel (more than 100 miles from MIT’s Cambridge campus) must be registered in the MIT Travel Registry in advance of the travel beginning.
High-Risk Destinations. Students wishing to travel to countries, regions, or cities designated DoS level 3 or 4 must apply for a high-risk waiver from the Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate and Graduate Education. See the student travel policy on the GSR site for more details.
International Students and Travel. If you are an international student and your UROP has the potential to take place off-campus, you must inform the International Students Office (ISO) before accepting the UROP. Visit the ISO website or email email@example.com for more information.