The Institutional Review Board (IRB) is an administrative body established to protect the rights and welfare of human research subjects recruited to participate in research activities conducted under the auspices of the institution with which it is affiliated. 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 local institutional policy. Research that has been reviewed and approved by an IRB may be subject to review and disapproval by officials of the institution. However, those officials may not approve research if it has been disapproved by the IRB.
The IRB also functions independently of but in coordination with other committees. For example, an institution may have a research committee that reviews protocols to determine whether the institution should support the proposed research. The IRB, however, makes its independent determination whether to approve or disapprove the protocol based upon whether or not human subjects are adequately protected.
(This is taken in part from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services IRB Guidebook.)
If an IRB question is not answered on these pages, feel free to send email to this address.