I want to conduct research independently once done with school. Where can I go to get IRB approval? I know that some businesses have collaborated with universities to get IRB approval but want to know more. What is the process? Do universities normally give IRB approval to non-university members? Where else can I go?

3 Answers 3


Most university IRB's won't involve themselves in research that isn't conducted by employees and students of the university. The alternative (widely used by pharmaceutical companies) is an "independent IRB" (the term is an oxymoron since the IRB isn't part of the institution that is doing the research...)

See the consortium of independent IRB's web site for some information about these IRB's.


  • In what context is IRB not part of the institute that does the research Dec 21, 2014 at 11:54
  • In the context of an "independent IRB", the review board is a separate organization that provides ethics review for the research on a contract basis. The most common example of this process is in trials of new drugs conducted by pharmaceutical companies that hire an IRB to review the study. Dec 21, 2014 at 15:37


The purpose of an IRB is to protect the institution from allegations of unethical behavior. There is no reason for the university to do a review of non-affiliated projects -- in fact, it makes the university liable for the research it approved, thus increasing its liability.

Alternatives would include:

  • Asking for university affiliation and then undergoing review.
  • Asking your professional association if they provide a review service
  • Self-review if your organization is large enough

This completely depends on your country and its laws. Some countries have National IRB, run by the government. The most common users are businesses and national research labs. Unless you have an affiliation or collaboration to the university, you do not do IRB through them.

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