Welcome to the Social and Behavioral Sciences Institutional Review Board (SBS-IRB) at the University of Chicago.
The Protection of Human Subjects involved in Research
Research activities conducted by University of Chicago faculty and students that involve the use of human volunteers or analysis of identifiable human subjects data and are designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge must be reviewed and approved by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) to ensure ethical research design and practice.
Faculty members may design assignments that engage students in interaction with individuals or data about individuals to teach research methods or to help students understand the concepts covered by a course. For the most part, these activities are not intended to create generalizable knowledge or lead to scholarly publication. These types of student class assignments, as a general rule, are not systematic data collection efforts intended to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge, and therefore do not meet the federal regulatory definition of "research." Independent research projects conducted by students (such as theses, honors projects, and independent study projects) that collect data through interactions with living people or access private information require IRB review if they are designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge. If you are in doubt as to whether your project needs IRB review, please contact the SBS IRB and we will be happy to discuss it with you.
For a more detailed discussion of which research projects must undergo IRB review, see Does My Research Need IRB Review?
The SBS IRB office provides ethical and regulatory educational sessions for classrooms, student groups or research centers upon request. We also welcome individual appointments in our offices or, if needed, in other offices on campus. Email addresses and phone numbers for the SBS IRB are listed at https://sbsirb.uchicago.edu/page/contact-sbs-irb
IRB Application Review Process:
IRB approval is required before human subjects research can begin (including recruitment activities). Studies which qualify for approval under expedited review or exempt status are reviewed by the IRB Chair or a designee. Protocols determined to require review by the full IRB committee will be scheduled for the next scheduled IRB meeting. See The IRB Submission and Review Process for a detailed discussion of the submission and review process.
Human Subjects Protection Training Requirements:
Prior to submitting an IRB Application or adding new personnel to the research team, the SBS-IRB requires researchers to complete an ethical and regulatory training course in the conduct of human subjects research. For more information on human subjects training requirements, see the guidance at Human Subjects Protection Training Requirement
Using AURA-IRB online system for IRB Applications:
The online comprehensive system for IRB applications is called AURA-IRB (Automated University Research Administration). Visit: http://aura.uchicago.edu
SBS IRB Listserv
If you would like to receive email updates from the SBS IRB with news about AURA IRB, new and revised IRB policies and guidance documents, and other SBS IRB news that affects researchers, you can subscribe to the SBS IRB listserv by going to https://lists.uchicago.edu/web/subscribe/sbs-irb and entering your email address.