Based on guidelines from the National Academy of Sciences, regulations from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, and guidelines of the participating institutions of the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, the institutional Stem Cell Research Oversight Committees are charged with overseeing a requirement for ethics training.

The focus of this requirement is on the researcher community, not on the protocols submitted for review. Protocols can be approved, but the only individuals authorized to work on those protocols are those who have an active certification or an exemption for ethics training. Although training requirements are met by individuals, the purpose of the requirement is to foster a community environment in which the ethical, legal, and social dimensions of human embryonic stem cell research are widely discussed and understood.


Effective December 15, 2007, the Burnham Institute for Medical Research, the Salk Institute, The Scripps Research Institute, and UC San Diego jointly adopted the following training requirements. To simplify the annual continuing education requirement, this requirement was amended effective January 1, 2013. Individuals or research groups can contact the San Diego Research Ethics Consortium about options available for meeting these requirements:

  1. Initial Training Requirement: Each individual conducting embryonic stem cell research is required to complete an initial training requirement. Completion of this requirement certifies the individual to conduct embryonic stem cell research for one year.
  2. Subsequent Year Continuing Education Requirementt: Each individual conducting human embryonic stem cell research is required each year to complete an additional two hours of stem cell or research ethics training.
  3. Exemptions: All researchers are encouraged to take advantage of ongoing opportunities for education and discussion about the ethical dimensions of human embryonic stem cell research. However, individuals who will have research responsibilities that raise only minimal ethical concerns may petition their institution’s ESCRO or SCRO Committee to be exempted from the continuing education requirements or to have the requirement reduced.
  4. Special Requirements: Because particular projects or individual situations may raise unusual ethical or regulatory concerns, ESCRO or SCRO Committees or the SDREC may on rare occasions require and/or provide additional training.

For certification of continuing ethics education hours, please fill out this form and send it to the SDREC: