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photo courtesy of © The Regents of the University of California, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Berkeley Lab has a rich history of research engaging human participants beginning all the way back with our founder, John H. Lawrence, M.D., D.Sc., F.A.C.P, the Father of Nuclear Medicine. Our early work exploring the medical uses of radioactive isotopes and subatomic particles have lead to numerous discoveries that guide medical practice today! Learn more

Today, the Human Subjects Committee (HSC) is LBNL's IRB and meets typically once a month. The committee is made up of staff scientists and community members and considers any research at LBNL involving people or human tissues. Federal regulations concerning scientific research using human subjects may be found on the Office of Human Research Protection website and more information on the Department of Energy's human subjects protections can be found here

Have a question? Email us at [email protected] or sign up for a timeslot at HARC OFFICE HOURS: Mondays, 2-3pm & Thursdays, 9-10am.

What's New for LBNL Investigators?

  • NEW HARC Help Desk! - email [email protected] or submit a ticket from our customer portal

  • NEW FORM! - submit use of Coded or De-identified human data/specimens for a faster Not Human Subjects Research (NHSR) determination

  • Need help finding translation/interpretation services? Ask about our Open PO with Accent on Languages for translation or interpretation services! Overview and pricing sheet, Email us for more information

  • Check out our updated and new Policies & Guidelines

Frequently Asked Questions

Does this project need review? Is it really human subjects research?

If you are unsure whether a project meets the definition of human subjects research, please contact HARC for a determination. This Guidance for Determinations of Human Subjects Research can help you understand the process of making a determination. Not Human Subjects Research (NHSR) determination letters will be provided for researchers to use for publications, funding sources, or any other entity that requests one.

What are Berkeley Lab's FWA and IRB Numbers?

LBNL FWA #FWA00006253; IRB #IRB00006447

What criteria does the HSC use to evaluate and approve protocols? 

All research projects evaluated by the Human Subjects Committee are reviewed for compliance with applicable local, state, and federal regulations. For Expedited and Full Board categorized studies, at a minimum the Common Rule Regulations would be applied, which include the § 1c.111 Criteria for IRB approval of research. For Exempt categories of research, the HSC applies our institutional policy at a minimum. To find out if there are any other specific requirements for your research, ask the HSC administrator at [email protected] or during HARC Office Hours.

Can I use cannabis in my research?

> Not quite yet. See this document from the University of California Office of the President on 7/24/2018 on the use of cannabis in federal research. This is an evolving field however, and things can change in the future.

Specific Guidance for Human Terrain Mapping

If in the course of your research, questions about whether or not the data you are collecting could be used for human terrain mapping, please see the following documents for guidance:

  1. DOE Human Subjects Protection Order
  2. HTM or Not HTM Tool

If you will be receiving data that has been sufficiently de-identified, please use the following >HTM data assessment tool, which include a data security agreement template.