Institutional Review Board for Human Use (IRB)The UAB Institutional Review Board for Human Use (IRB) is a committee established under federal regulations for the protection of human subjects in research (45 CFR 46). Its purpose is to help protect the rights and welfare of human participants in research conducted under the auspices of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
The duty of the IRB is to ensure that:
research is conducted in an ethical manner;
risks to participants are minimal;
participant selection is equitable; and
participants are informed fully of the scope of participation and the potential risks and benefits of their participation.
The guiding ethical principles of the IRB— respect for persons, beneficence and justice—are embodied in the “Belmont Report”: Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research (The National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research, April 18, 1979).
University policy requires that all research involving human subjects be reviewed and approved by the UAB IRB before the research begins. This requirement applies to all human subjects research conducted by faculty, staff, and students, on- and off-campus, regardless of funding.
Research involving human subjects includes the collection of data about or from human subjects and the use of existing data or specimens. Any changes to an IRB-approved project must be reviewed and approved by the IRB before they can be implemented. Continuing review is also required at regular intervals for protocols reviewed by the convened IRB and through expedited procedures.
The UAB IRB requires Principal Investigators and all other research team members to complete and document appropriate training in the protection of human subjects. Additionally, the IRB monitors ongoing research for adherence to applicable regulations, policies, and procedures.
More information about the IRB and its role in the UAB Human Research Protection Program can be found by visiting the Office of the IRB's website.
For some studies, if you agree to participate, someone from the study will ask you for your “informed consent.” To give that consent, you may be asked to sign a form, but remember that informed consent is a process, not a form. If you have a question or concern about your participation at any time during the study, ask about it. After all, you need to be informed before you can give your consent.