UNC Institutional Review Board (IRB)

All research projects conducted under the auspices of the university (e.g., by faculty, students, or staff) involving human subjects must be reviewed and approved by the university's Institutional Review Board (IRB). Faculty, students and staff planning human research must submit requests for IRB approval prior to any data collection.

UNC Regulations and procedures regarding the use of human subjects are guided by the ethical principles set forth in the Belmont Report. The university and the IRB adhere to the federal regulations found at CFR Title 45, Part 46.The role of the IRB is to support UNC researchers in conforming to ethical standards for the protection of human subjects, researchers, and the university. The IRB is committed to carrying out this charge in a manner that will support and assist researchers.



  • Federal policies and guidelines on the use of human subjects
  • Training in the use of human subjects
  • Preserving Anonymity in Online Survey Research
    Technically, two surveys will be created in Qualtrics for the students and two for the faculty. A primary survey consisting of the survey questions and a secondary survey containing only the request for names and email addresses of participants' interested in being entered into the drawing for Ameircan Express gift cards. This allows the identifying information to be stored separately from the participants' responses. Because the surveys are separate, the data will be stored in different data sets. Upon completion of the primary survey, consisting of the survey questions, participants will be automatically redirected to the "second survey" requesting names and email addresses for drawing purposes only. This option in Qualtrics allows for the collection of identifying information on an anonymous survey.
  • "Ethically Impossible" STD Research in Guatemala 1946 to 1948
    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 availllable in this Commission report and related study guide.
  • A Study Guide to "Ethically Impossible"
    Designed for higher education, this study guide allows students to assess for themselves the PHS debates about the scientific validity and political sensitivity of the research.
  • UNC Service for Recruitment of Research Participants
    Researchers needing to recruit research participants may advertise their studys on the Office of Research website after obtaining an IRB approval.

NOTE: If you have questions regarding recruitment of research participants, please contact Bob Houser, AVP for Research and Sponsored Programs.

  • UNC Data Security Plan
    As part of the IRB application, researchers need to identify any data that are stored electronically and that if disclosed, would cause material or legal harm to research participants. Researchers who are collecting, handling, or storing such data must define their security level, as specified in the UNC Data Security Plan, and submit an application to UNC Information Management and Technology (IM&T).

NOTE: If you have questions regarding data security, please contact Forrest Swick, Information Technology Security.