The mission of the Suffolk University institutional Review Board (IRB) is to ensure quality research involving human subjects conducted under the auspices of the University. The IRB is guided by ethical principles outlined in the Belmont Report and legal mandates outlined in the Code of Federal Regulations Title 45, Part 46.

All projects conducted at Suffolk involving human subjects that meet the definition of research must be reviewed by the IRB. Go to the decision tree  to see if your project meets the definition of research.

The Suffolk University Institutional Review Board's (IRB) mission is to protect the rights and welfare of people who take part in research at Suffolk University. Federal regulations and University Policy require prospective review and approval of all human subject research conducted by faculty, staff, or students. The goal of the IRB is to ensure the safe and ethical treatment of human subject’s research participants through the review, approval, modification, or disapproval of research applications submitted by faculty, staff, or students. The IRB is responsible for communication, record keeping, reporting, monitoring, education of the campus community about ethical issues, and the overseeing of all research activity .

The IRB is a committee comprised of faculty, staff, and non-affiliated members who are charged with reviewing all human subjects research conducted by Suffolk University faculty, staff and students in accordance with current HHS and FDA regulations and guidelines

An application must be filled out and submitted via IRBNet, even if the research proposal originates at another institution or organization seeking partnership or a co-investigator.  Enrolled students cannot serve as principal investigator. Students are required to have a faculty member serve as a principal investigator for any student project. The supervising faculty member assumes full responsibility for the accuracy of the information provided on the IRB application. A student can be listed as co-investigator.

The IRB is available to consult with faculty, staff, or students in the early stages of project development regarding the review process and categories of review.

In its review of proposed research activities involving human subjects the IRB ensures:

Risks to subjects are minimized

The IRB evaluates whether procedures performed on subjects are consistent with sound research design and do not unnecessarily expose subjects to risk.


Risks to subjects are reasonable

Risks are reasonable in relation to any benefits that might be expected from taking part in a research study and to the importance of the knowledge that may result.


Selection of subjects is fair and equitable

The IRB seeks to determine that no eligible individuals are denied the opportunity to take part in any study, particularly those from which they may benefit, based on an arbitrary criterion such as gender, age or language barriers.

Participation of subjects is voluntary

Planned recruitment and consent procedures will result in voluntary participation and that informed consent will be obtained from each prospective subject or where appropriate, from the subject's legally authorized representative.


Data Safety Monitoring

The research plan provides for monitoring the data collected to ensure the safety of subjects.


Protection of Privacy

There are adequate provisions to protect the privacy of subjects and to maintain the confidentiality of data collected on research participants.


Through the review process and post-approval monitoring the IRB evaluates the integrity of the informed consent process as well as procedures that safeguard the confidentiality of personally identifiable information associated with the collection of data on research participants.