The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research Institutional Review Board (NMIMR-IRB) was established in 2000 as part of a requirement for collaborative research with a US funded project (NIH). This establishment took effect in consultation with the College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana after it’s meeting on the 13th November, 2000. The NMIMR-IRB is an independent and competent body set up to review, evaluate and decide on the ethical merits of research protocols ensuring and guaranteeing the rights, dignity, safety and protection of all individuals and communities who participate in research activities. The IRB reviews both internal and external collaborative research protocols received from NMIMR, Schools and Colleges within University of Ghana, Medical Schools, Private organizations, individual bodies with affiliations with University of Ghana.

The composition of the IRB is as follows:

  • A lawyer
  • Physician-Scientist
  • Journalist
  • Scientists
  • Non-Scientists
  • Religious Body Representing the larger Community
  • Medical Doctor
  • Sociologist

The IRB follows a structured Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) that clearly outlines terms of reference, membership, meeting procedures and criteria for protocol reviews among other things.
The Officers of IRB comprise the Chair, Vice Chair and the Administrator. This body has a permanent Secretariat at NMIMR which is manned by the IRB Administrator.

Currently, all the activities of the IRB are funded by NMIMR. The board meets six times within a year (Every other month) and a number of expedited reviews occur as and when deemed necessary. On the average 110 protocols are reviewed every year with greater proportion being students protocol. Initially, (70%) of the protocols reviewed were biomedical whilst the remaining (30%) were of social or behavioral research. This trend however has changed over the years with Social/Behavioral research forming greater number of studies reviewed. Records have shown that the chances of a protocol receiving a first time clearance without any modification are about 45%.

Some of the reasons that may account for failure to obtain IRB clearance could be attributed to the following:

  • Inability to meet submission deadline
  • Poorly written proposal and informed consent
  • Use of technical language/jargons on the consent form.
  • Targeting vulnerable population without adequate protection,
  • Late submission of response to the board comments
  • Lack of relevant supporting documents eg Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) (if applicable), Insurance cover, (if applicable) etc.

A protocol submitted by PIs from within NMIMR to IRB should have undergone review and received approval from the Scientific and Technical Committee (STC) of NMIMR. Likewise protocols received from any other Institution other than Noguchi, must have undergone and received prior scientific approval at the departmental level before submission to the IRB.

All applicants for IRB clearance must submit the following for consideration:

  • 9 hard copies and a soft copy (sent by mail to the administrator through email address:
  • 9 copies of CVs of PIs and Co-PIs should be (Abridged /NIH versions preferably)
  • A cover letter signed by the PI or Co-PI; For students, it should be signed by Supervisor/Head of Department
  • Consent Form for research participants attached to each proposal (use Noguchi Consent Form Template)
  • Page 1 of Form A filled out and attached to each proposal
  • 9 copies of all supporting documents including questionnaire, interview guide etc must be attached.

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The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), set up in 1979 as a semi autonomous institute of the University, is the leading biomedical research facility in Ghana.

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