IRB and Office of Human Research Ethics

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Full AccreditationThe Office of Human Research Ethics (OHRE) is responsible for ethical and regulatory oversight of research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that involves human subjects. OHRE supports and oversees the work of the Institutional Review Boards (IRBs).

News and updates

  • January 28, 2014: Recent changes in our computer system (IRBIS) have led to a delay in processing time.  This is impacting the time it takes to review and approve submissions.  We appreciate your patience while we get through this transition.
  • January 21, 2014: For the past two weeks, there has been intense media coverage of research conducted by a UNC employee on literacy rates among student-athletes.  These reports contained numerous errors and misrepresentations with regard to the IRB status of this research.  CLICK HERE for a statement prepared by the Office of Human Research Ethics, which oversees the IRBs, to respond to media inquiries and address inaccuracies in prior reports.

  • October 30, 2013: Effective October 15, 2013, UNC will rely on the approval and oversight of the central/independent IRB already involved with an industry-sponsored, multicenter trial, provided certain criteria are met. Please CLICK HERE for a guidance document providing an overview of the process for requesting reliance on a central or independent IRB.
    Informational sessions were offered to provide background, introduce the new policy and demonstrate the abbreviated application used for this scenario. Please CLICK HERE for the slides used in these sessions.

Organizational Structure

The IRBs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are organized by area of expertise.  The IRBs are:

  • Biomedical IRB (Committees A through D) Reviews research involving School of Medicine, School of Pharmacy, UNC Hospitals, and research in other units that involves biomedical interventions. Expertise is focused on medical, surgical, physiological or pharmacological studies. Includes research with drugs, devices, counseling, or other interventions. Studies that require dental expertise are reviewed by Biomedical Committee B.
  • Non-Biomedical IRB (Committee E)  A combination of the former Behavioral and Public Health-Nursing IRBs. Reviews research in psychology, child development, education, anthropology, information and library science, social work, journalism, and many other disciplines under Academic Affairs, as well as studies from the School of Public Health, School of Nursing, nursing-related studies at UNC Hospitals, non-medical research from the Injury Prevention Research Center, Carolina Population Center, Health Promotion Disease Prevention, and Sheps Center. Expertise is focused on research in behavioral and social sciences, the humanities, epidemiology and other research in a public health or nursing context.

For questions or comments

  • General questions: by email,,
    or by phone, 919-966-3113.
  • Technical questions about online submission:
    call David Tegnell at IRBIS Help Desk, 919-966-3685
  • Check the status of your review: at
  • IRB training requirements:
    by email,