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About Us

Who we are

The Human Subjects Division (HSD) is a service and compliance unit within the Office of Research.  It is the core of the UW’s Human Research Protection Program and it manages the four Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) that review and oversee UW human subjects research. HSD has about 40 staff and about 80 IRB members.

What we do

HSD and the IRBs perform the federally-required review of human subjects research that is conducted by UW faculty, staff and students and a few local institutions. The purpose of the reviews is to protect the safety, rights, and welfare of research participants and to ensure institutional compliance with federal and state regulations and University policies. HSD staff also provide guidance to researchers about regulatory and ethical issues. HSD has policy making authority, working with the UW Office of Research.

Our work portfolio

There are about 6000 human research studies at the UW, distributed across almost every department and academic unit, including the Bothell and Tacoma campuses. The research may occur anywhere in the world; a significant percentage of UW research occurs outside of the U.S. UW human subjects research is remarkably diverse:  clinical trials of investigational devices such as the Wearable Kidney; ethnography of the blues music culture in Angola prison; a community “healing canoe” building project aimed at helping at-risk Native American youth; “think aloud” studies of new mobile technology, and more.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion

The oversight of human subjects research and protection of research participants is strongest and most successful when performed in an open culture and framework that values and embodies diversity, equity, and inclusion. The Human Subjects Division expects its leaders, supervisors, staff, and Institutional Review Board members to be guided by this fundamental principle. The HSD community flourishes when a diverse group of people work together to fulfill its mission.