Institutional Review Board

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a committee designed to regulate care of participants in research conducted by members of the Northwest University community: faculty, staff, students, and doctoral candidates.

The responsibility of the IRB is to establish and enforce ethical guidelines that protect human participants from harm, respect their dignity, and ensure the appropriate treatment and use of non-human subjects (animals). The IRB especially seeks to protect those who have limited understanding of the risks of their participation or who have diminished decision-making abilities. Current federal policy stipulates both the necessity and requirements of institutional research boards. Further, the NU IRB has outlined NU Principles and Practices with specific guidance for Northwest University.


Who Must Submit an IRB Application?

All potential research projects using human participants (including those conducted by students as part of a class assignment) need to be reviewed by this board prior to their implementation, unless they meet criteria for exempt status. IRB review is required for any research that it designed to “develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge” where data will be used for publication or conference presentation to “forward the field”.

A study is exempt if it:

  • Is used for program development only
  • Uses only previously collected, anonymous documents & records, or data available to the public
  • Consists of passive observation of participants whose identity is kept anonymous
  • Is held in an educational setting and examines educational practices


I’m Planning a Research Project

All researchers need to complete Protecting Human Research Participants training. See the Where Do I Start? document and complete PHRP Training to begin. 

Please note: Faculty supervisors must have up-to-date human subjects training (PHRP Training or equivalent) and certificate of training must be submitted with student research application. Currently, NU requires human subjects training every 5 years for all researchers and research supervisors.


When Is My Application Due?

IRB Research Proposal Applications are due ONE WEEK (7 business days) PRIOR to IRB meetings.


2022-2023 IRB Committee Meetings

FallSpring Summer
September 23, 2022January 31, 2023TBD
October 28, 2022February 24, 2023
November 16, 2022March 29, 2023
April 28, 2023

Note: The IRB Committee does not meet in December.