The Institutional Review Board at UNL

Read more comprehensive information about UNL’s IRB guidelines and policies.

The Institutional Review Board reviews research projects that involve human subjects to ensure that subjects are not placed at undue risk, that they give informed consent to their participation, and that their rights and welfare are protected throughout the project.

The scope of the IRB’s charge is broad. Generally, any University research (in the social and behavioral sciences, as well as the health and biological sciences) that uses humans, human tissue, surveys of human subjects or human subjects’ records requires IRB review, regardless of its funding source.

A project is first reviewed in its proposal stage, even before any subjects are recruited. Each approved project is reevaluated at least annually. The IRB has the authority to approve or disapprove a project or require modifications. The IRB works with investigators to modify projects to ensure adequate protection for the subjects’ welfare. The IRB also observes and verifies changes and has the authority to suspend or terminate approval.

Board Composition

The IRB is composed of members representing the diversity of the University and local community. Board members are appointed by the Vice Chancellor for Research for staggered terms of three years. The IRB is administered through Research Compliance Services, located at 2200 Vine Street, 275 Whittier Research Center, Lincoln, NE 68583-0864.

Basic Criteria of IRB Review

In assessing the adequacy of human subjects’ protections in research, the IRB considers a number of basic criteria, specifically whether:

  • risks to subjects are minimized
  • risks to subjects are reasonable in relation to the anticipated benefits to subjects and the advancement of knowledge
  • selection of subjects is equitable in light of the research aims
  • informed consent is sought from each prospective participant or legally authorized representative, and properly documented
  • the research plan makes adequate provision for monitoring the data collected to ensure safety of subjects
  • adequate safeguards are in place to protect the privacy and confidentiality of subjects
  • adequate provisions are made for the ongoing monitoring of the subjects’ welfare.

The assessment also includes additional factors important in the context of the individual proposal.

Full Board Project Submission Requirements

Please note:  Full board protocols must be submitted on or before the month’s submission deadline to be eligible for Full Board review at that month’s meeting.

Full Board Protocol Submission Notice:

Spring 2017 IRB meeting dates and submission deadlines are as follows:

  • Thursday, January 26th – submission deadline – January 5th
  • Wednesday, February 22nd – submission deadline – February 3rd
  • Thursday, March 30th – submission deadline – March 6th
  • Wednesday, April 26th – submission deadline – April 3rd
  • Thursday, May 25th – submission deadline – May 1st

Please be cognizant of any submission deadlines or meeting dates that may be affected by the Fall Holiday schedule.  Although, if you have any questions or are unsure if your project is subject to submission deadlines, please contact us at 402-472-6965.  Please be aware that submission deadlines are applicable to Full Board review only.  Expedited and Exempt projects are reviewed in the order they are received with no submission deadline requirements.