Forming a Local SRC/IRB Committee

Q. When must student research be locally reviewed?

A. Always, However, many research projects can be reviewed by the adult sponsor or classroom teacher without the need for a local review panel. This MUST be done prior to the commencement of research.

Q. What student research projects must be reviewed by a SRC/IRB committee?

A. Any research projects involving human subjects (including surveys), vertebrate animals, potentially hazardous biological agents, and controlled substances must be reviewed. Research conducted by a pre-college student at a Regulated Research Institution (e.g., university, college, medical center, government lab, correctional institution) must be reviewed and approved by that institution’s IRB. A copy of the IRB approval for the entire project (which must include the research procedures/measures the student is using) and/or an official letter from the IRB attesting to approval is required. A letter from the mentor is not sufficient documentation of IRB review and approval. This is in addition to Form 1C: Regulated Research Institutional/Industrial Setting Form.

Q. When should a local school district begin to organize a review committee?

A. Immediately. Each September or October, local school districts should officially appoint a panel to review and approve student research projects that require prior approval.

Q. What is this review panel called?

A. Actually, there are two types of review panels.

  1. A general review panel, the Scientific Review Committee (SRC), examines projects for the following:
    • Evidence of literature search
    • Evidence of proper supervision
    • Use of accepted and appropriate research techniques
    • Completed forms, signatures and dates showing maximum of one year duration of research and appropriate pre-approval dates (when needed)
    • Evidence of search for alternatives to animal use
    • Humane treatment of animals
    • Compliance with rules and laws governing human and animal research
    • Compliance with rules regarding potentially hazardous biological agents, controlled substances and hazardous substances and devices
    • Documentation of substantial expansion for continuation projects
    • Compliance with the ISEF ethics statement
  2. A second review panel, the Institutional Review Board (IRB), is a committee that according to federal law must evaluate the potential physical or psychological risk of research involving human subjects. All proposed human research must be reviewed and approved prior to experimentation! This includes the research plan as well as any questionnaires or surveys used in the project.

A local school or school district can combine both the SRC and IRB into ONE review panel as long as all prerequisites for both panels are met.

Q. Who should serve on a local SRC/IRB committee?

A. In order to combine both review panels there must be a minimum of four persons who serve on the local SRC/IRB Committee.

  • A biomedical scientist (Ph.D., M.D., D.V.M., D.D.S., or D.O.)
  • A science teacher (the teacher supervising the student may NOT serve on the panel)
  • A school administrator
  • And one of the following: a medical doctor, physician’s assistant, registered nurse, psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed social worker, Pharm D.

If the project involves human behavior, a psychologist, psychiatrist, or individual with human behavioral training must serve on the panel. If students are using non-human vertebrate animals, a veterinarian or an individual with training in animal care should serve on the panel. SEE ISEF RULES, Pp 10-12.

Q. What is Registration Form B?

A. This form is required for all projects that require prior approval. Download form B.

Q. Where can I get help? Where do I start? How can I get more information?

A. If a sponsor teacher needs help forming a local SRC/IRB, you can call Joan Wagner at (518) 505-7507, email at [email protected] or see the information table at the Eastern Section of STANYS annual Siena Conference on October 11, 2020.