When research involves human subjects, including working with private data or conducting surveys, protocol(s) need to be submitted for review by the Institutional Review Board (IRB). The Institutional Review Board (IRB) is the Columbia University committee charged with protecting the rights and welfare of human subjects who participate in research. It also serves to protect the researchers and the University from potential harm when research projects that use people as subjects are conducted at Columbia.

Human subject research is any research in which an investigator obtains information about a living individual:

  • Through interventions or interaction with the individual, or, through securing identifiable private information about the individual.
  • Any project which meets either of the criteria above must be submitted for IRB review and approval prior to beginning the research.

Protocols are created and submitted via RASCAL. PIease need to ensure they have IRB approval or have submitted a protocol for approval at the time of the application (or as soon as possible afterwards). This is to prevent delays in the formal award of a grant (especially in NSF cases).