The mission of the Emerson College Human Research Subjects Committee/Institutional Review Board (IRB) is to ensure quality research involving human subjects conducted under the auspices of the College. The IRB is guided by ethical principles outlined in the Belmont Report (1979) and legal mandates outlined in the Code of Federal Regulations Title 45, Part 46 (2009).

In accordance with state and federal regulations, all projects conducted at Emerson involving human subjects must be reviewed and approved by the IRB prior to the initiation of any investigation. The IRB has the authority to review, approve, disapprove or require changes in research or related activities involving human participants. All reviews are carried out in reference to:

  • The rights and welfare of the individuals involved;
  • The appropriateness of the methods used to obtain informed consent; and
  • The risks and the potential benefits of the investigations.

The Emerson College IRB also provides continuous oversight of all research projects for changes in protocol which may alter the investigational situation with regards to the above criteria. Additionally, the IRB provides advice and consultation to investigators on employing human subjects in an investigation.

Emerson College has authorized its Human Research Subjects Committee/Institutional Review Board to:

  • Review, approve, disapprove or require changes in research conducted by Emerson College faculty, students, and staff involving human participants;
  • Suspend or terminate approval of research; and
  • Monitor the consent process and the conduct of the research.

When necessary, the IRB solicits consultation of subject matter experts to assist in the review of issues which require expertise beyond or in addition to that available on the IRB.

The Office of General Counsel provides legal expertise to the IRB as needed, and is available for consultation on issues of non-compliance, scientific misconduct, and export control.

Records of review and decision on the use of human subjects, and of informed consent, are kept by the Emerson College Human Research Subjects Committee/Institutional Review Board, in compliance with state and federal regulations.

The Emerson College IRB is administratively and financially supported by the Office of Academic Affairs, and reports directly to the Chief Academic Officer/Vice President for Academic Affairs.