Columbia University operates under a Federalwide Assurance with the Office of Human Research Protections that regulates our ability to conduct research involving human subjects. This agreement requires institutions that receive federal research funds to provide a comprehensive, ongoing training program in basic human subjects protections and to verify that all applicants for IRB approval have undergone this training. Compliance with this Assurance also requires the University to ensure that all research conducted at the institution is reviewed by the IRB when necessary.
The Institutional Review Board (IRB) Morningside reviews all human subject research conducted by faculty, staff, and students on the Morningside campus, regardless of the location of the research activity or source of funding. The Morningside IRB oversees human subjects research in the social and behavioral sciences disciplines and certain other academic departments (e.g., Humanities, Graduate School of Business, Law School, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.) Students conducting research at Teachers College or Barnard also should seek approval from the IRB at those institutions. Staff at any of these IRBs can provide guidance on research that may require joint review.
The Graduate School has been asked by the Provost to require all faculty sponsors and graduate students to determine whether or not their current or prospective research involves the use of human subjects and, if so, to pass the web-based training program immediately. Failure to do so may result in serious penalties to the University and yourself, such as the discarding of your research findings and the prevention of the publication of your results. All graduate students conducting research involving human subjects, funded or non-funded, are required to:
(1) Complete a web-based basic training program on the protection of human research participants, prior to submitting their research application to the IRB Office. The training can be found on Columbia’s Rascal website (https://www.rascal.columbia.edu/). The first required sequence is basic training in human subjects research—all students (indeed all Columbia University affiliated researchers, and all advisors of student research that involves the use of human subjects) are required to take and pass TC0015 – the Morningside Human Subjects Training Course. In addition to basic training in human subjects research, students should take RASCAL training in completing an IRB application (TC0017) and consent form builder training (TC0018) - which provide a set of instructions on how to complete and submit research protocols to the IRB. (2) Submit their research to the IRB for status determination: protocols can be exempt or need IRB review and approval. (After June 1, 2003, all IRB applications must be submitted electronically through Rascal at https://www.rascal.columbia.edu/.)
To determine whether or not you are conducting research involving human subjects and for information on the web-based training program and the guidelines for submission of research to the Morningside IRB, please visit the Morningside IRB web page at: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/irb/index.html. Another helpful resource is the memo on Student Research Guidance, online at: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/irb/info.html. Faculty sponsors are ultimately responsible for the conduct of all student research and should familiarize themselves with these issues as well.