Institutional Review Board (IRB)

What is the Institutional Review Board?

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) is primarily a faculty committee charged with reviewing all human subjects research to ensure the protection of human subjects. Any and all research that uses human subjects must be submitted to the IRB for review.

The IRB must ensure:

  • risk to the subjects is minimized and anticipated benefits are sufficient to justify the risk
  • existence of sufficient informed-consent/assent processes and documentation that protect subject autonomy and voluntary participation
  • equitable selection of subjects
  • subjects' privacy and that the confidentiality of data are protected.

The IRB has the authority and the responsibility to disapprove any research project that does not meet all of these requirements.

See the list of current IRB members.

What is considered human subjects research?

Research is any systematic investigation that contributes to generalizable knowledge.  For an investigation to be considered research, its goals must include dissemination of some sort. Investigations that are meant simply to describe what is being investigated are not considered research, nor is any investigation in which a goal is not to disseminate the information at all.

Human subjects research includes any research that uses individuals and/or information about them. Any investigation that includes data collected from or about humans is considered human-subjects research, even if the investigator has no direct contact with individuals, and must be submitted to the IRB for review.

What is the process of applying for IRB approval?

  1. Fill out the IRB application (protocol).
  2. Complete and pass either the initial or refresher CITI Program training.
  3. Submit the IRB application (protocol) and all supporting documents to IRB.Review@esc.edu.  
  4. Your application submission will be reviewed in accordance with the three levels of IRB review.
  5. Work with the IRB to answer any questions or revise your application, as needed.
  6. Receive formal approval (good for 1 year).
  7. To continue a project past the 1 year approval, complete and submit an IRB Continuation Form.
  8. To modify a project, complete and submit an IRB Modification Form.
  9. At the end of the project, you must close it down.

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