Welcome! This site has some basic information about the review of human subject research at Cooper Union. To request a review of your work, and to see more details, please visit (and register for) the Moodle course entitled "Reviewing Your IRB Proposal." All the materials and information you will need may be found there.
The Institutional Review Board of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art (CU-IRB) has the responsibility for the oversight of all research involving human subjects conducted or supported through research activities which are conducted by faculty, students and/or staff associated with the Cooper Union. The goal of this oversight is to protect the rights, privacy and welfare of all human participants in research while respecting, supporting and enhancing the responsible and ethical scholarship activities of the faculty, students and staff.
To achieve this goal, the CU-IRB has the authority to review, approve, modify or disapprove research protocols submitted by faculty, staff and student investigators which involve human subjects as well as to monitor and review their progress. The review and monitoring processes are to be guided by federal rules and regulations, and are based on the Protection of Human Subject Code of Federal Regulations, the Belmont Report and provisions of 45CFR46 – Protection of Human Subjects. These regulations require institutions receiving federal funds to have all research involving human participants be approved by an IRB, whether or not the research is externally supported.
Although many surveys are not considered "human subject research," some are - and many other surveys have legal, contractural and/or ethical implications. As a result, the IRB also approves surveys that are not technically considered "human subject research" under Federal law.
Very important things:
(1) All faculty, students, administrators and staff of the Cooper Union must gain CU-IRB approval before beginning any project in which people are subjects. This includes projects which you personally do not believe pose any danger or inconvenience to the subject(s). This includes classroom work as well as projects carried out by clubs or individuals. This also includes work carried out at physical locations other than the campus of the Cooper Union. Finally, surveys are generally considered to be "human subject research" and also are subject to IRB oversight and review.
(2) The CU-IRB will not review a research study which has already begun or which was completed in the past. CU-IRB approval must be sought and gained before commencement of any research involving human subjects, including surveys and survey-based studies. You may not commence a research study for which you have applied to the CU-IRB for approval until approval is given; if you do, your application will be denied.
(3) You must seek CU-IRB approval before carrying out such work at other institutions, such as hospitals, businesses, or other colleges / universities, if you are an employee or student of the Cooper Union. It does not matter whether or not the work would be supervised by another IRB at another institution (although this will change in January 2020). A properly functioning IRB will require cross-review by the IRBs at both institutions.
(4) The CU-IRB has developed a self-evaluative process for faculty or staff who conduct student response surveys solely for internal purposes, so that they can in most cases quickly and easily gain "exempt" status for their survey. This process should be reviewed and followed before submission of a full application to the CU-IRB, because in many cases a full application will not be required.
(5) Unless the IRB Chair first determines that it lies in the Exempt category, students may not be the Principal Researcher (PR) on a human subject research proposal or project. In general, a full-time employee of the Cooper Union must be the PR and must upload the application using their own Moodle account. Student researchers are to be listed as Co-Researchers.
Prof. Robert Topper
Chair, Institutional Research Board of the Cooper Union