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Research Safety and Ethics

Research must be conducted safely and responsibly

Research in a chemistry laboratory involves some amount of risk, and you are expected to conduct research in a manner that minimizes risks to yourself and others.  Researchers must also adhere to strict ethical principles so other scientists, funding agencies and the general public can have confidence in their findings.  Safety or ethical violations may lead to the suspension or termination of your research project.  The steps you need to take before commencing your research project are outlined on this page.

On-line Safety Training Courses

Prior to beginning your research project, you will need to complete several on-line safety training courses developed by the KU Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS). 

To access the EHS Chemical Safety training courses:

1. Go to the Environment, Health and Safety Online Safety Training Web page.
Scroll down to the section titled "KU-EHS Blackboard Course Self-Enrollment
Instructions." Follow the prompts. Select the ID Number "EHS002 in Table 1."

2. The following list of courses are required:

  • EHS Hazard Awareness
  • Walking and Working Surfaces
  • Waste Management 101
  • Lab Safety 101
  • Lab Personal Protective Equipment 101
  • Preventing Contamination
  • Safety Showers and Eyewash Stations
  • Fire Safety and Extinguishers (includes hands-on component)
  • Chemical Fume Hoods
  • COVID-19 Return to Work Safety 101

After you have successfully completed each module you will receive a “completion certificate.”  The full set of completed certificates must be bundled into a single file, and submitted as an attachment in an email to Betsy Carlson, Chemistry Department Undergraduate Affairs Administrator.  Bundling may either be done using the “Combine Files” tool in Adobe Acrobat Pro, or by compressing the documents into a zip file.

CHEM 201 (Laboratory Safety in the Chemical Sciences)

All Chemistry majors are required to take CHEM 201, which is only offered in Fall semester.  It is recommended that you complete CHEM 201 prior to beginning research, or during your initial semester in the lab.  If you begin research in spring or summer semester and have not yet completed CHEM 201, you must enroll in it the next time it is available. 

Lab-specific safety training

Many research labs have specialized safety training requirements that you will need to complete either before starting your project or before taking on additional laboratory responsibilities.  Your faculty and in-lab mentors will schedule this training with you on an individual basis.

On-line tutorial on CITI Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

All students must complete this tutorial prior to commencing research.  Instructions can be found here.


Chemistry department receives more than $8.5 million in research grants annually
14 chemistry faculty members have NSF CAREER Awards
Longest-running chemistry Research Experience for Undergraduates in the nation
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