There’s a growing trend in Social, Behavioral, and Education Research (SBER)–machine learning–in which investigators often request to obtain, through direct interaction and intervention, various sets of data on human subjects, including their physiological (i.e., data obtained from either invasive or non-invasive means) and/or biometric data (e.g., audio/visual recordings). The research as originally conceived may or may not have been considered human subjects research, but its ultimate purpose is to teach machines how to think, draw conclusions, and process information in much the same way humans do. Read more


In April, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a discussion paper, "Proposed Regulatory Framework for Modifications to Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML)-Based Software as a Medical Device (SaMD).” The paper represents FDA’s response to the growing number of medical device manufacturers who are utilizing artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to continuously improve their products. On June 3, PRIM&R submitted comments in response to the discussion paper, thanking the FDA for their consideration of the public health implications of the use of these technologies, but also cautioning that any new regulatory approach in this area must address the protection of individuals whose personal information and data are being used in the creation and ongoing testing of these technologies. Read more


I am thrilled to attend my second PRIM&R Advancing Ethical Research Conference (AER18) and to share my experiences as a Blog Squad member! With so many recent and forthcoming regulatory changes—the revised Common Rule, NIH single IRB of record mandate, and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), just to name a few—this is an exciting time for the human research projections community, and I am delighted to explore these topics with you! Read more


Research conducted in international settings poses particular challenges for the reviewing IRB, as it must possess adequate knowledge of laws and regulations in the country where the research is taking place, and be sensitive to the area’s cultural norms, in order to appropriately evaluate the study. Social, behavioral, and educational research (SBER) in particular may involve the study of stigmatized health conditions or behaviors, and may require the recruitment of marginalized populations and minors. Conducting research on these topics is important, but it is equally essential that IRBs and researchers mitigate the risk of social consequences that might result from subjects’ participation in the study, such as rejection in their communities or conflict within their families. The regulations regarding human subjects protections vary greatly between countries as well, which can lead to additional difficulties for IRBs. Read more


One of my favorite parts of attending PRIM&R's annual Advancing Ethical Research Conference is that it refocuses my efforts on what really matters. In the year since the last conference, I've processed countless exempt 2 determinations, requests for waivers of signed consent, and study team member modifications. I have been doing this while also contributing to new institutional policies and procedures, software requirements, and workflows in order to comply with the revised Common Rule. Some days, we all feel drowned in an ocean of regulations and rules—some days, we all get the Regulatory Robot Blues. However, the first keynote speaker at the 2017 Social, Behavioral, and Educational Research Conference reminded me of why human subjects research protection is my passion. Read more