Regulatory Considerations for Research Abroad

The Institutional Review Board (IRB)

Before conducting research abroad involving human participants, researchers should be mindful of IRB regulations and protocols.  The IRB's purpose is to protect the rights, privacy, and welfare of human participants in research conducted by Princeton University faculty, staff, and students.  Princeton University applies US regulatory requirements for all research done abroad but also requires that researchers follow local regulation and guidance, and also adhere to local culture and customs. 

The nature and risk to participants determines the level of review required by the IRB for human subjects research proposals.  Some proposals may require full committee review and this process may take upward of two months to complete.  Plan accordingly and consult the IRB if you have any questions.  Once human subjects research has occurred, the IRB cannot retrospectively provide approval.      

For more information about the Princeton IRB, the review process, policies, forms, or to ask general questions pertaining to international research proposals, please visit the Office of Research Integrity and Assurance's  Human Research Protections Program.

Listing of Social-Behavioral Research Standards

The Office for Human Research Protections of the Department of Health and Human Services has developed a listing of 27 social-behavioral research (SBR) laws, regulations, and guidelines around the world.  This list is designed for use by IRBs, researchers, sponsors, and others involved in human subjects research around the world.

These standards were developed in 18 countries and by one international organization. The standards are organized by continent, and then arranged alphabetically by country name.  The countries included are listed below (note: some countries have been issued more than one standard).

For more information, please visit the OHRP's Listing of Social-Behavioral Research Standards.

Countries Included:

  1. Australia
  2. Botswana
  3. Brazil
  4. Canada
  5. Finland
  6. France
  7. India
  8. Kyrgyz Republic
  9. Malawi
  10. Nigeria
  11. Norway
  12. Philippines
  13. Saudi Arabia
  14. South Africa
  15. Sweden
  16. Taiwan
  17. United Kingdom
  18. United States

In addition, one SBR standard was issued by UNESCO.