Office for Responsible Research

Humans - Institutional Review Board (IRB)

In order for research institutions to obtain federal funding, they are required to have an Institutional Review Board (IRB) in place. The IRB is a committee that reviews all research at Iowa State University (ISU) involving human participants, including proposals to gather data from participants for theses, dissertations, and other student projects. The IRB also reviews cases of noncompliance, provides policy input, and promotes ethical research throughout the University community.

Prior to implementation, all research involving human participants at ISU must receive IRB approval in accordance with federal regulations set forth by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration.

After IRB approval is obtained, any changes or modifications to the research protocol or procedures must be approved by the IRB before they are implemented.

The purpose of the ISU IRB is to ensure that the rights and safety of human participants in research are protected. To achieve this, the IRB advises investigators in designing research projects that minimize potential harm to participants, reviews all planned research involving human participants prior to initiation of the research, approves research that meets established criteria for protection of human participants, and monitors approved research to ascertain that participants are being protected.

The IRB responsibility for protection of participants is shared with research investigators and the federal government. However, primary responsibility for assuring that the rights and welfare of the individuals involved in research are protected continues to rest with the principal investigator. Also, faculty who assign or supervise research conducted by students or staff have an obligation to consider carefully whether those individuals are qualified to adequately safeguard the rights and welfare of participants.

All of ISU's human participant research activities and all activities of the Institutional Review Board designated under the Federal Wide Assurance will be guided by the ethical principles in The Belmont Report: Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research or other appropriate ethical standards recognized by federal departments and agencies that have adopted the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects.