USM's Institutional Review Board
The Institutional Review Board (IRB) at the University of Saint Mary is established according to federal regulations and charged with the protection of human research subjects. The purpose of an IRB review is to assure, both in advance and by periodic review, that appropriate steps are taken to protect the rights and welfare of humans participating as subjects in the research.
The IRB reviews human subject research projects with the aim to:
Minimize the risk to human subjects (beneficence);
Ensure that all subjects giving consent are fully informed about the research and any risks involved in the study (autonomy); and
Promote equity in human subjects research (justice).
All faculty, students, and staff must submit an application and supporting materials to the IRB if they are going to be engaged in any activity involving human subjects that will use an intervention, interview, observation, survey, and/or institutional data with personal identifiers.
The IRB typically approves projects for one year, thereafter conducting annual reviews. The IRB aims to assist investigators develop and implement practical strategies and solutions that uphold the protection of research subjects rights and welfare.
All research team members need to complete a Human Subjects Protection course before the IRB application can be approved (see tab at right).
The IRB review must be conducted before you involve human participants in your research, including any study advertisement or subject recruitment.
You need to have final, written IRB approval before you begin your study.
If you do not have IRB approval for your research, your research project cannot be recognized by USM and, for students, may not be accepted to fulfill any academic requirements.
Except in very rare and limited circumstances, the IRB cannot review research that has already been conducted.
For a flow-chart to help you determine whether or not you need to submit your proposal to the IRB, view the University of Saint Mary IRB Dichotomous Key.
The IRB meets once a month during the academic year. Check with the IRB chair to confirm future dates.
For more information contact: