About the IRB

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.

2024 IRB Meeting Dates & Times

All IRB meetings are subject to change or cancellation. All IRB meetings are held virtually and could include research from any Penn State campus, including the College of Medicine. 

Click here for 2024 General Review Board and Noncompliance Board Meeting Dates.  



IRB Membership

In order to conduct thorough reviews of research, IRBs include members with varied experience and expertise, including medical, science and non-scientist perspectives and community representatives serving as non-affiliated members. Each IRB member reviews materials and attends board meetings prepared to discuss proposed research within their realm of expertise or experience. Individuals interested in serving on the IRB need only an appreciation for the importance of clinical research and an interest in protecting research participants. Educational resources are provided to help all members gain the necessary information base regarding research protection.

Roster of current board members.

Are you interested in becoming an IRB member?  If so, please complete this application form.


Federal Wide Assurance (FWA), IRB Registration, and Institutional Official

Penn State has one approved FWA with the Department of Health & Human Services, which covers the University, including the College of Medicine and Penn State Health.


  • The Pennsylvania State University:  FWA00004251

IRB Registration for all Campuses:

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

Institutional Official:  

The Institutional Official for the University is Debra Thurley, Associate Vice President for Research.


Statement of IRB Compliance

The Pennsylvania State University IRBs are duly constituted, allow only those IRB members who are independent of the investigator and the sponsor of the trial to vote/provide opinion on the trial, and have written procedures for initial and continuing review of human research protocols. The IRBs each comply with requirements defined in 45 CFR 46, 21 CFR 50 and 56, and ICH-GCP to the extent required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Click here for word version of Statement of IRB Compliance.


Fees for Industry-Sponsored Research

There is a regulatory compliance fee associated with the review of industry sponsored research. Current rates are identified here