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Human Subject Research



Western Carolina University recognizes the need to utilize human subjects in research.  Using human subjects in research is a privilege, therefore all research using human subjects as participants must be reviewed by the Institutional Review Board. The primary goal of the WCU IRB is to protect the rights and welfare of individuals who participate as subjects while promoting and facilitating the research enterprise, and maintaining an open and cooperative relationship with the research community. Researchers utilizing human subjects in research should review University Policy 131 - Research Involving Human Subjects, and IRB procedures, prior to commencing research.

Before participants are recruited or data is collected, the IRB must review and approve all research conducted by WCU faculty, staff, or students, regardless of funding source. Research may not begin until an approval or exemption letter is received from the IRB.

The IRB is registered with the Department of Health and Human Services – Office for Human Research Protections with the Federal-wide Assurance #FWA00010411. This provides assurance that the University will comply with applicable federal laws and regulations related to research with human subjects.

WCU's IRB uses IRBNet for all IRB submissions and the review process. Submissions are no longer accepted through email. Please visit the WCU IRBNet application process for instructions, or contact the IRB by emailing or calling 828-227-7212.

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