The Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a Saint Michael's College committee appointed by the Vice President of Academic Affairs and charged with the supervision of all research that involves human subjects and/or animals. The IRB requires that all research involving human subjects and/or animals conducted by faculty, students or staff affiliated with Saint Michael's College be reviewed and approved by the IRB prior to data collection.
The main emphasis of the IRB is to determine whether the risk to human participants and/or animals is minimized and is reasonable when weighed against the benefits of the proposed research. In addition, the IRB evaluates whether the selection of participants is equitable and particularly vulnerable populations are safeguarded with respect to their rights and safety.
Ultimately, investigators must be familiar with and behave according to the spirit and letter of federal and professional guidelines pertaining to human and/or animal research.
Federal regulations that stipulate "each institution or agency which conducts or which proposes to conduct or authorize human research shall establish a human research review committee...No human research shall be conducted or authorized by such institution or agency unless...such committee has reviewed and approved the proposed human research project..." Saint Michael's College faculty, students, and staff are subject to these regulations.
In regards to research involving animals, The Health Research Extension Act of 1985 and Public Law 99-158 require that each institution that receives PHS support for activities involving vertebrate animals or is subject to the authority of the Animal Welfare Act must operate an animal care and use program with clear lines of authority and responsibility. This committee, the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), is charged with reviewing and approving all protocols involving the use of animals at Saint Michael's College regardless of the funding source for the research project.