Institutional Review Board (IRB) Rules
As defined by SSP (Society for Science & the Public): “An Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a committee that, according to federal regulations (45-CFR-46), must evaluate the potential physical and/or psychological risk of research involving human subjects. All proposed human research must be reviewed and approved by an IRB before experimentation begins. This includes review of any surveys or questionnaires to be used in a project."
SARSEF has a combined SRC/IRB committee. By definition, “this committee must include at least: a biomedical scientist (e.g., Ph.D., M.D., D.V.M., D.D.S., D.O.), a science teacher, a school administrator (preferably, a principal or vice-principal), and one of the following who is knowledgeable and capable of evaluating the physical and/or psychological risk involved in a given study: a medical doctor, physician’s assistant, registered nurse, a psychiatrist, licensed psychologist, or licensed social worker. At least one member of the committee must be familiar with proper animal care procedures when reviewing projects using vertebrate animals.”
For SARSEF, the SRC also serves as the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and reviews projects involving human subjects. For a School SRC to serve as an IRB, it must also include the members required in a properly constituted IRB. The SRC/IRB review process is “intended to ensure the safety of students, to protect the subjects and environments studied, and to limit the liability of the adults who assist with the projects.” All SRC/IRB members are familiar with the International Rules and the Operational Guidelines for SRCs/IRBs, as well as any pertinent federal regulations.
When reviewing research plans, SRC/IRB members ‘use their best professional judgment coupled with good common sense. They counsel and instruct students and help them correct violations whenever possible.’