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Research Review & Approval
Human Subjects

Institutional Review Boards (IRB)

Grand Valley State University's IRB is called the Human Research Review Committee (HRRC). The HRRC reviews applications for research involving human subjects to assure compliance with ethical and Federal standards for the Protections of Human Subjects.

The HRRC is comprised of GVSU faculty and volunteer community members who are not employees of GVSU.

Research Involving Human Subjects

Federal regulations and GVSU policies require that all research involving human subjects or materials of human origin be approved by the Human Research Review Committee before initiation.

The HRRC is GVSU's Institutional Review Board and it's primary responsibility is to protect the rights and welfare of human subjects. The HRRC reviews research protocols using the following criteria:

(45 CFR 46.111)

  • Procedures and research design do not unnecessarily expose subjects to risks.
  • Risks to subjects are reasonable in relationship to anticipated benefits, if any.
  • Selection of subjects is equitable, taking into account special problems of research involving vulnerable populations (e.g. pregnant women, prisoners, children, etc.).
  • Informed consent will be effective and documented in writing (except in special circumstances)
  • Where appropriate, adequate provisions are in place to monitor the collected data to ensure safety to subjects.
  • Protections of the privacy of subjects and confidentiality of data are appropriate to the nature of the research and it's study design.

OHRP educational videos for help with privacy, informed consent and unanticipated problems.


Research means a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge. Activities which meet this definition constitute research for purposes of this policy, whether or not they are conducted or supported under a program which is considered research for other purposes. 45 CFR 46.102(d)

Human Subject is defined as a living individual(s) about whom an investigator (whether professional or student) conducting research obtains (1) data through intervention, or (2) identifiable private information. 45 CFR 46.102(f)

Examples of research with human subjects

  • Interviews
  • Telephone, Internet or mail surveys
  • Behavioral or educational testing
  • Observation of individual or group behavior
  • Collection of blood or other biological samples
  • Analysis of existing data (i.e., surveys, biological materials, medical records) that were originally collected for other purposes
  • Intervention with a person's body or mental state

Check our site often for information updates:

Overview Explains the importance of the review committees, provides links to complete set of federal research regulations and schedules of all research training workshops and committee activities.

Support Materials Forms and procedures needed by researchers for initial applications for protocol review, renewals, revisions, and closure.

Education Links to CITI online training modules, HRRC workshops, meeting schedules, FAQs, and other resources.

Regulations and Guidelines Links to applicable federal and state guidelines and other resources.

Announcements Important conference dates, committee meeting schedules and regular updates of newly emerging regulations and ethics standards.

How Can We Help You?
The Research Protections Program is available to meet with faculty, research staff, students or administrators for individual or group consultation.

049 JHZ, Grand Valley State University Allendale, MI 49501 Phone: (616) 331-3197 Fax: (616) 331-6830 E-Mail:

Note: Be sure to check the protocol submission deadline for each full board meeting as listed on the HRRC home page. Protocols are not reviewed from the start of final exam week until the first day of the following academic term.