Research Protections

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) Research Protections Division, a component of the Department of the Navy (DoN) Human Research Protection Program (HRPP), is responsible for ensuring that human subject research supported by DoN complies with federal regulations, Department of Defense directives and SECNAVINST 3900.39E CH-1. This includes all research involving human subjects conducted at DoN systems and training commands, in the operational forces, and at extramural institutions sponsored by the Navy.

HRPP Mission and Vision

DoN HRPP's mission is to ensure the ethical treatment of human subjects in DoN-supported research by promoting adherence to the ethical principles, laws, regulations and policies that protect human subjects in research. Its vision is to preserve the rights and welfare of human subjects in Navy and Marine Corps-supported research.

Human Subject Research: Critical for the Warfighter

Human subject research is critical to support the warfighter, Navy and Marine Corps training and operational capability, and the competency of the Navy medical department. This research includes the development of:

  • Personal protective equipment such as body armor, hearing protection and helmets
  • Treatments for decompression sickness
  • Methods for reducing spatial disorientation in aviators
  • Tools to maximize human performance and endurance, among many others

Human subject research also includes human factors engineering for combat stations/systems.

Research with human subjects supports improvements in infectious disease prevention and treatment, reduction of non-battle injury and enhanced combat casualty care and management. Human subject research underpins many other types of clinical biomedical and training-oriented research. This research is critical to the credentialing of health care professionals and maintaining the accreditation of the graduate education programs (e.g., medical, dental, nurse anesthetists) at the DoN's medical facilities.

The Research Protections division of ONR's Warfighter Performance Department is a major element of the DoN HRPP. The secretary of the Navy has designated the Navy's surgeon general as the single point of contact directly responsible for the protection of human subjects in DoN-supported research and as the sole authority for managing the DoN HRPP. The chief of naval research provides support and expertise for oversight and monitoring of HRPP compliance by the Navy and Marine Corps systems commands, operational and training commands, and extramural research performers, including universities, contractors and private research organizations.

Research Protections Points of Contact

For more information on ONR Research Protections, contact

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