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Welcome to the IRB home page

The Bates College Institutional Review Board (IRB) has been established to approve research projects involving the use of human participants (or source-identifiable biospecimens from human participants). The IRB exists both because Bates wants to ensure that research participants are treated with the utmost respect and safety and because federal law requires that all federally funded research involving human participants receive IRB approval. The research projects concerned include not only standard research but in-class research and community-based research (CBR) projects as well, and extend to journals and photographs, video and tape recordings of participants.

The members of the IRB for 2017-2018 are: Helen Boucher (co-chair), Michael Murray (co-chair), Amy Douglass, and Cynthia Baker. Adilah Muhammad and Dr. Candace Walworth, MD, are the community members.

Proposals must be submitted to the IRB electronically.

To submit your proposal, email all necessary documents comprising your proposal as attachments to Include the word "Submission" in your subject line, and be sure that all attachments are in PDF format. Student investigators must cc their faculty adviser, and the adviser must in turn reply to confirming endorsement of the proposal as submitted. Without an endorsement email from that adviser's Bates email account, the proposal will not be reviewed. Note that the required checklist is a PDF form that you can and should complete, and save as a PDF for upload, along with all other documents. The standard review time is three to five business days. If you have questions, contact Helen Boucher, the IRB co-chair, at or by phone at (207) 786-6395.

Be sure to review the submission process to confirm that you have prepared and included all necessary elements. NOTE THAT THE CHECKLIST IS FOR YOU TO COMPLETE AS INVESTIGATOR, SO DO NOT SUBMIT A BLANK CHECKLIST.

Note: In some cases, a project may already have been approved by another institution's IRB, or deemed exempt from their review process. Nonetheless, the Bates IRB may want to also review the project to ensure that it meets its standards. Even if a project has been approved or deemed exempt from review by another IRB, if it involves Bates community members, either as investigators or human participants (or both), the principal investigator must consult with one of the Bates IRB co-chairs to determine whether review is needed.

Please note an important addition to the IRB approval process: Effective September 2012, all researchers must complete the National Institute of Health's Protecting Human Research Participants online course.  As part of your application process to the Bates IRB, you must present your certificate of completion.  The course takes approximately three hours to complete.

Federal guidelines state that any institution receiving federal funds for research using human participants must establish an Institutional Review Board; all federally funded research must receive IRB approval.

"An IRB shall review and have authority to approve, require modifications in (to secure approval), or disapprove all research activities covered by this policy. An IRB may require informed consent and require documentation of informed consent. An IRB is to notify the investigator and the institution of its approval or disapproval of a research activity. If it disapproves, it will give its reasons and provide an opportunity for the investigator to respond in writing or in person. An IRB will provide periodic (usually annual) reviews of approved, long-term research activities."
(Code of Federal Regulations Title 34 -- Education. p. B15)

Informational Flowcharts

Does my project proposal need to be submitted to the IRB?

How do I submit my proposal to the IRB?


Our downloads page has sample documents and the proposal checklist.