Institutional Review Boards are a response to the scientific community’s realization that general ethical principles were not sufficient to fully guide the conduct of modern scientific research. International efforts to develop ethical research principles began in earnest after World War II (spurred by the revelations of Nazi war atrocities) and were formally codified in various treaties, resolutions, policies, and laws during the 1960s through the 1990s. The specific historic documents which frame the ethical and philosophical foundation for the modern IRB include: The Nuremberg Code (1949), The Helsinki Declaration (1964), and The Belmont Report (1979).
The composition, tasks, and responsibilities of the Augsburg IRB are outlined in U.S. Federal Policy (Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects – Federal Register, June 18, 1991–Sections 46.101-124) and Augsburg University procedures (Augsburg University Faculty Handbook–9.20.1-9.20.3). A copy of the Augsburg University Faculty Handbook is on reserve in Lindell Library or available online (Augsburg login required).
The official task of the Institutional Review Board at Augsburg University is to review proposals and advise researchers in the development of appropriate practice in four areas relevant to human subjects protection:
- Subject selection
- Risk/benefit analysis
- Subject debriefing
- Informed consent procedures
All research which involves human subjects and which is conducted under the auspices of Augsburg University by its faculty, staff, or students is subject to Augsburg policy guidelines and IRB review.
The Augsburg IRB commenced operation during the 1993-94 school year and has been in continuous operation ever since. The chair and members are appointed by and report to the Provost and Chief Academic Officer.