The IRB is charged with overseeing research involving human subjects. The foundational definition for what makes a particular project fall under the purview of the IRB can be found in the "Common Rule," which has the following definitions:

  • Research: a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.
  • Human Subjects: a living individual about whom an investigator (whether professional or student) conducting research obtains
    (1) Data through intervention or interaction with the individual, or
    (2) Identifiable private information.

In addition to providing review for all human subjects research performed at Emory University, the Emory IRB is also the IRB of record for the Emory Healthcare System and the Atlanta VA Medical Center. We also review all non-expedited Emory research at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and all Emory reseach in the Grady Health System. In addition, we have long-standing collaborations with the American Cancer Society and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As a result of those wide swath of clinical research sites, many IRB protocols at Emory are biomedical research and investigators on those projects will find a great deal of guidance on this site to assist them.

Emory also has a long tradition of sociobehavioral research, however, and studies from diverse fields ranging from anthropology to education to political science are regularly reviewed by the Emory IRB. Investigators in planning sociobehavioral studies will find key documents and guidance on this site that address the particular concerns of those projects.

It's important to note that biomedical and sociobehavioral research studies, like all human subjects research, can fall under any of the types of IRB review.