Research Using Human Subjects and the Towson University IRB

Logo of the U.S. Office for Human Research Protections
Logo of the U.S. Office for Human Research Protections

Towson, MD (March 2, 2011): The Office of Sponsored Programs & Research isn’t only about sponsored funding. OSPR also serves as the administrative point of contact for compliance with both human and animal research regulation. This week, we spotlight the human subject policies and procedures and provide reminders for faculty, staff, and students engaging in research.

Federal human subjects regulations and University System of Maryland and Towson University policies require that students, faculty, and staff who are performing research involving data collection from human participants are required to have the research methods reviewed by Towson University’s Institutional Review Board (IRB). IRB review provides assurance that the research design provides protection of the rights, welfare, and wellbeing of subjects involved in research conducted or associated with the University. Abiding by these policies protects the university, its faculty (as both investigators and sponsors of student research), the students themselves, and its professional staff from potential liability caused by problems with human subjects research.  The Towson IRB is registered with the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Human Research Protections.
The IRB is composed of faculty volunteers representing all colleges of the university as well as an unaffiliated member. The board reviews research protocols which involve Towson University facilities, funds, data, patients, clients, staff, students, records or specimens.  Projects involving data collection in which there is identifiable linkage to the subject or involving physical, social, psychological, or privacy risks to the subject require IRB review.  The IRB has the authority to approve, require modifications in, or disapprove all research activities that fall within its jurisdiction as specified by both the federal regulations and TU policy.

Research is defined (in accordance with 45 CFR 46) as “a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.” Research cannot begin until formal notification of approval or exemption, (with an assigned IRB number), has been received from the Board. Formal approval from the Board means that all requirements for the protection of the prospective participants have been met.

The Board conducts both expedited reviews and full board reviews to provide the fastest turnaround for each application. For many applicants, the largest roadblock to approval is confusion about reviwe requirements or application directions. Members of the IRB are available to help applicants through the review process, and for classes where research is required (such as Research Methods), Board members are available as guest speakers to conduct a workshop for the class prior to submission. Please contact  or 410 704-4488 with any questions or concerns about IRB review or applications, or to request a group IRB workshop.

Office of Sponsored Programs & Research
212E Administration Building

Phone: 410-704-2236
Fax: 410-704-4494




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