COVID-19 Update

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) in Massachusetts and across the country are working diligently to find pathways and provide guidelines for their faculty and students to safely resume human subjects research.  The IRB’s work is complicated by changing State and federal guidelines, and by the reality that any resumption of research in the new COVID-19 reality needs to consider protecting the health of human subjects, their social contacts, principal investigators and researchers, and the health of the broader Merrimack College community given our residential nature.  These guidelines have been developed to prevent possible harm to human subjects while enabling research to continue. 
All researchers should be aware that human subjects research can be suspended again, or that the categories described in this document may be changed (requiring the researcher to resubmit) as more information on COVID-19 becomes available or as the pandemic changes in the region, in the Commonwealth, and in the country.
All researchers are expected to review and follow the Guidelines for Resuming Human Subjects Research at Merrimack College Under COVID-19.
For additional information please contact the Merrimack College IRB (


Welcome to Merrimack’s IRB

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) is charged with safeguarding the rights and well-being of human subjects in research/projects conducted at or sponsored by Merrimack College.

Responsibilities include:

  • Developing and disseminating federally compliant policies for the protection of human subjects.
  • Developing and implementing institutionally appropriate procedures for ensuring the protection of human subjects, in collaboration with other members of the Merrimack College community.
  • Educating members of the Merrimack College community about the ethical and legal obligations associated with human subject projects.
  • Conducting reviews of generalizable research projects to ensure that such research will be carried out in a manner that safeguards the rights and well-being of the subjects.
  • Promoting professional development in research ethics for Merrimack College employees in support of their instructional, research and administrative work.


An Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a committee, or board, of volunteers including scientists, non-scientists and community members, that ensures research protocols involving human subjects are ethical and that the rights of participants are protected.  The federal Office of Human Research Protection (OHRP), through its process of approving and granting Federalwide Assurance for institutions that conduct human subject research, requires that an institution’s human subject activities and its Institutional Review Board (IRB) be designated under the Assurance, will be guided by the ethical principles in “The Belmont Report: Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research”.  

Merrimack College is committed to the pursuit of excellence in research, scholarship, and related professional achievement.  The Merrimack IRB exists to ensure that all research participants are treated with respect and safety and because federal law requires that all research involving human participants (or source-identifiable biospecimens from human participants) receive IRB approval.  Research projects falling under IRB review are varied and diverse and include disciplinary-based research in the biomedical and social-behavioral disciplines, in-class research at the undergraduate and/or graduate level, and community engaged research projects.

The College has provided a formal guarantee to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) that it will follow procedures to assure the protection of all human subjects involved in research projects.


Complete details on project types and review procedures can be found in the IRB Guidelines document.

  • Merrimack College Federalwide Assurance: FWA 00014062
  • FWA renewal is: 10/04/2022
  • IORG 0005707
  • IRB 00006880, Expires 01/08/2023

Ethics Reports

Below you will find important publications and information regarding human subjects research ethics.

The Belmont Report  

The Helsinki Declaration

Office of Human Research Protection

Contact Us

Contact the IRB at