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Institutional Review Board

The Institutional Review Board at MassBay

MassBay Community College is committed to the conduct of high quality research to meet the needs and interests of the academy, the College, and the community. The College is also committed to protecting the welfare of every person who may be involved in research. In addition to its mandated review functions, the IRB also serve as an educational resource for the MassBay community.  

MassBay has provided a formal guarantee to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) that it will follow established procedures to assure the protection of human subjects in research. This guarantee applies to all research conducted on the premises of the College or research using College resources and to all research conducted elsewhere by faculty, students, staff, or other representatives of the College.  

In order to comply with this assurance, the College has established an Institutional Review Board (IRB) to review research projects that involve human subjects. In this role, the IRB can be held accountable to various regulatory agencies and may be audited to ensure that procedures and decisions conform to regulatory standards.  

The IRB is a College-wide Board whose members are appointed from the faculty and the staff, with up to two external members appointed by the President or his designee. It is a committee with requisite diversity in terms of disciplines and demographic characteristics. Its members have the knowledge and experience needed to make judgments about research protocols and the protection of human subjects. Below are the current members of MassBay’s IRB.

The IRB meets on the first Thursday of every month during the regular semester from 3:30 to 5:00PM. Meetings are held simultaneously on the Wellesley and Framingham campuses. For additional information, please contact us at or at (508) 270-1118.

Definition of Research and Human Subject (from HHS: §46.102)

Research means a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.  Activities which meet this definition constitute research for purposes of this policy, whether or not they are conducted or supported under a program which is considered research for other purposes. For example, some demonstration and service programs may include research activities.

Human subject means a living individual about whom an investigator (whether professional or student) conducting research obtains:

  1. Data through intervention or interaction with the individual, or
  2. identifiable private information.

Human Subjects Projects that are not Research

There may be instances of projects being done with MassBay students or using college facilities that would not meet the definition of research given above and that would not be required to come before the IRB for review and approval. In such cases, the faculty member or Principal Investigator is still expected to conduct the project ethically and in compliance with relevant college policies. Oversight of such activities is outside the purview of the IRB. Course activities and assignments that meet the above definition of research are subject to the same review process as any other research that is within the purview of the IRB.

If you are unsure about whether your project qualifies as research, please contact us for more clarification via email at or at (508) 270-1118.