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Human Subjects Research—Institutional Review Board (IRB)

In any research project, including research funded by grants, human subjects must be treated according to ethical and legal guidelines, and potentially sensitive data collected through intervention or interaction with human subjects  must be managed appropriately to ensure that their rights and welfare are protected.

An Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a committee charged with reviewing proposed undergraduate, graduate, staff, and faculty research that involves human subjects. Vanderbilt’s Human Research Protection Program offers those pursuing human subject research a variety of services, including guidance, training, FAQs, personal consultations, and an online application process for project review (

Vanderbilt’s IRB Program ( is one of the selected few in the nation to be fully accredited by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs (

IRB approval is required for any research that involves humans, including the collection of interview data, for example. The IRB can determine whether a project is exempt or not, and only the IRB can make this determination. Please contact the IRB early in the early phase of your project planning, even if you believe that IRB approval may not be required.

The IRB Office is located at 504 Oxford House, in the Medical Center complex. Call (615) 322-2918 or (866) 224-8273 for information on how to begin the IRB review process for your research.