The Human Research Protection Program (HRPP)

The Human Research Protection Program (HRPP) is the IRB office for the entire University and provides support for all Penn State researchers, including those at the College of Medicine and Penn State Health.  

HRPP News and Announcements   

The Human Research Protections Program (HRPP) announces changes to the IRB review process, effective September 1, 2021. Read more.  

HRPP Review Times: Although the goal of the recent unification of the University's IRB programs is to lessen the burden on investigators, the current time from submission to pre-review of a submission by an IRB Analyst is approximately 12 business days. Read the article for more details.  An HRPP Advisory Committee has also been established: learn more.

Learn more about COVID-19 and human subjects research.

The Revised Standards for Human Subjects Research were updated October 1, 2021. Read more.  


What's an IRB?

An Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a federally mandated entity that oversees the protection of human subjects in research. Penn State has two IRBs: the General Review Board and the Noncompliance Board.  At Penn State, an IRB must review all research involving human subjects, and the research cannot begin until the IRB has reached a determination. This is true even if a researcher perceives there are no risks for people who participate in their research--it is the role of the IRB to mitigate potential risks to participants, including their physical and psychological well-being, confidentiality and privacy, and autonomy, among others.  The IRB consists of faculty, staff, and community members appointed by the Associate Vice President for Research. The IRB must have at least one member serving on the board who is not employed or affiliated with the University or has an immediate family member employed or affiliated with the University. 


Getting Started

Learn if an IRB submission is required for your study and answer your questions about preparing submissions, required training, and the CATS IRB by reviewing our guides, videos, and training opportunities found under Training and ResourcesThe IRB 5 Basic Steps are a good starting point for a quick overview of the IRB submission process.

IRB Analysts

IRB Analysts are staff who help investigators prepare a submission for approval. At University Park, analysts are assigned based on the first initial of the PI’s last name. Please contact the appropriate IRB Analyst with questions, even if a protocol has not yet been submitted.


Future Participants

Find research studies accepting volunteers through Penn State’s StudyFinder website.


Federal Wide Assurance (FWA) and IRB Registration

Penn State has approved FWAs with the Department of Health & Human Services. Penn State's two IRBs are also registered with the Department of Health & Human Services.

University Park and all campus locations:  FWA00001534

College of Medicine and Penn State Health:  FWA00004251


IRBs for all Campuses:

  • IORG#0000031
  • Registration Number for IRB #1:  IRB00000046
  • Registration Number for IRB #2:  IRB00000047

Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs symbol Click here to complete the IRB feedback survey at


Upcoming Events

1:30 PM

The CATS IRB Submission training gives an overview of how to navigate CATS IRB and the steps to complete an IRB submission.... more

Via Zoom
12:30 PM

The IRB Protocol Training provides step-by-step guidance on how to develop a protocol for submission to the IRB. This training focuses... more

Via Zoom