Institutional Review Board

The Institutional Review Board at NSMC is overseen by the Partners Human Research Committee (PHRC). PHRC is responsible for assuring that appropriate steps are taken to protect the rights and welfare of humans participating as subjects in approved research studies. More about the PHRC is below.

Current investigators and research staff:  

Contact your Protocol Administrator listed in Insight with questions.

General questions?

Contact Maria Sundquist at 617.424.4101.

Review and approval process


In compliance with Federal law and Partners policy, all research projects involving human subjects or human material must be reviewed and approved by the PHRC (both in advance and by periodic review). Research limited to the use of non-identifiable patient information may qualify for exemption from full review; however, all exemptions must be determined or granted by the PHRC.

Electronic submissions required

NSMC Investigators must submit research proposals to the PHRC using Insight. Insight is used for new protocol submissions. It is also a platform for submitting amendments, continuing reviews and adverse events for IRB review.

Approval criteria


  1. The risks to subjects are minimized to the extent possible.
  2. The risks to subjects are reasonable in relation to anticipated benefits, if any.
  3. Selection of subjects is equitable.
  4. Unless waived, the informed consent process and documentation are adequate.
  5. When appropriate, the research plan makes adequate provision for monitoring the data collected to ensure the safety of subjects.
  6. Where appropriate, there are adequate provisions to protect the privacy of subjects and maintain confidentiality of data.
  7. Appropriate safeguards are included within the study to protect the rights and welfare of vulnerable subjects.

The PHRC has the authority to disapprove, modify, or approve protocols based upon consideration of human subject protection. 

While other groups or offices may need to review and approve research, no one office can approve a study that has been disapproved by the PHRC. 

The PHRC also requires progress reports from the investigators at least annually and oversees the conduct of the study.