Institutional Review Board (IRB)
UNC faculty, staff and students who wish to conduct research that includes human research subjects must receive approval of the University's Institutional Review Board (IRB) prior to any data collection.
For research and research-related activity involving human subjects, UNC is guided by university policy, the ethical principles set forth in the Belmont Report and by federal regulations found in Title 45, Part 46 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
Recommended Reading from the IRB
The revelation that in the 1940s the U.S. Public Health Service supported research in Guatemala that intentionally exposed thousands of Guatemalans to sexually transmitted diseases without their consent resulted in an investigation by the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. The findings of that investigation are available in the Commission's report and related study guide:
- "Ethically Impossible" STD Research in Guatemala 1946 to 1948
- A Study Guide to "Ethically Impossible"
Designed for higher education, the study guide allows students to assess for themselves the PHS debates about the scientific validity and political sensitivity of the research.
The IRB Process
UNC's Institutional Review Board has moved from a paper application process to IRBNet, a web-based tool that helps researchers and the Office of Sponsored Programs better manage protocol submission, modification and tracking.
Application materials that are submitted for IRB review through IRBNet are similar to previously used paper versions. However, IRBNet provides a new process for the submission and subsequent review of an IRB Application.
Researchers will also be able to access their protocols from any computer anywhere in the world, provided it has Internet access.
Paper submissions will no longer be accepted.
To learn about accessing, and training resources for using, IRBNet, go to:
- Procedures for Research Involving Human Participants at UNC (pdf)
- Writing an IRB Application at UNC (pdf)
- Revising an Existing Project in IRBNet (pdf)
- Protocol for Research Involving Human Body Specimens (pdf)
- IRB Requirements for Course-Based Research (Omnibus) (pdf)
- IRB Frequently Asked Questions (html)
- Other IRB Resources (html)
- Submitting a New Project in IRBNet (pdf)
- UNC Human Subjects Federal Wide Assurance: FWA00000784