About the Human Research Protection Program

The Michigan State University (MSU) Human Research Protection Program (HRPP) includes the Institutional Review Board (IRB) committees and the IRB and Compliance offices.


The MSU HRPP primary mission is the protection of individuals who are the subjects of research. MSU is committed to follow the ethical standards described in the Belmont Report, and all applicable federal, state and local regulations and university policies and procedures. The HRPP at MSU sets forth the structure, policies, and procedures to implement this mission and commitment. The processes of education, review, and monitoring described in the HRPP serve to ensure the safe and ethical conduct of research that will protect human subjects in an atmosphere of mutual trust and integrity in the pursuit of knowledge and human benefit. MSU HRPP Manual Section 3-1.

The MSU HRPP includes Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) that help to carry out this mission.

What is an IRB?

An IRB is an institutional review board, established to review proposed human subject research.  The IRB may approve, require modifications in (to secure approval), or disapprove research. At MSU, all human subject research (regardless of funding) must be reviewed and approved by an IRB before initiation.

Why is an IRB needed?

Federal regulations, accreditation standards, institutional policies and MSU’s Federal Wide Assurance requires that an IRB review all proposed human subject research, regardless of funding, prior to the initiation of the research. The IRB’s purpose is to protect the rights and welfare of the potential research subjects by examining areas such as risks and benefits, informed consent, selection of subjects, privacy, confidentiality and anonymity.

What is an IRB's composition?

An IRB must have at least five members, with diversity and varying backgrounds, including consideration of race, gender, and cultural backgrounds and sensitivity to such issues as community attitudes. The IRB must include a member with a nonscientific background and a member nonaffiliated with the institution.

What is the authority of the IRB?

The authority of MSU IRBs is described in Section 4-2, Authority of IRBs of the HRPP Manual.