The School IRB (Internal Review Board) has been simplified. Each IRB needs:
- A medical or mental health professional.
This can be the school nurse or a guidance counselor – a person who is knowledgeable about and capable of evaluating the physical
and/or psychological risk involved in a given study.
- A school administrator. (A principal or vice-principal)
- An educator. This does not have to be a science teacher although it is encouraged to have one.
A teacher cannot serve where their students are involved, so most schools have two teachers on the IRB,
so that each teacher can serve for the other teacher's students on the IRB
Additional Expertise: If an expert is not available in the immediate area,
documented contact with an external expert is recommended.
A copy all correspondence with the expert (e.g. emails) must be attached to Form 4 and can be used in lieu of the signature of that expert.
No Adult Sponsor, parent or other relative of the student, the Qualified Scientist, or Designated Supervisor
who oversee the project may serve on the IRB reviewing that project.
Additional members are recommended to help avoid a potential conflict of interest and to increase the expertise of the committee.
Further details on the School IRB can be found on the Society for Science website at
If your school does not have a science fair, or if you are home schooled, you may contact us directly for assistance.
If you have questions on approval of your project before you start, or if your school does
NOT do science fair and therefore does not have an IRB, please send your name, email address, grade (6-8 or 9-12), school, and your complete research plan to
before you start your experiment.