Key accreditation gives boost to USM Work for Maine innovators

For immediate release: 10/3/2022

Contacts: Daniel Hartill, Communications and Media Relations Specialist,, 207-780-4744 (office) || Ross Hickey, Assistant Provost for Research Integrity,, 207-712-5781 (cell)

PORTLAND, Maine — A University of Southern Maine organization that helps life sciences innovation in Maine and nationwide has earned a stamp of approval from prestigious international accreditors, the only such distinction for an academic institution in Northern New England.

The Washington D.C.-based Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs accredited the Institutional Review Boards at USM. These collaborative IRBs at the university review research projects that request the use of human subjects. Such ethical reviews are a necessary step in research and innovation. These services are part of the university’s Office of Research Integrity and Outreach, and they are open to any Maine researcher in need of an IRB. Through its collaborative review boards, USM serves over 30 entities including: health care providers, state agencies, colleges and universities in Maine and beyond which are engaging in research. 

“An accreditation like this is part of building the infrastructure needed to grow the life sciences in this state,” said Ross Hickey, Assistant Provost for Research Integrity at USM. The only other such accreditation in Maine is held by MaineHealth, a frequent USM partner.

The accreditation for USM and four other institutions worldwide was announced Sept. 23rd AAHRPP President and CEO Elyse I. Summers.

“Despite the disruptions of the pandemic, these five organizations made it a priority to pursue accreditation and commit to AAHRPP’s high standards,” Summers said in a release. “With that decision, they signaled their dedication to quality research and, above all, to protecting the participants who make scientific advances possible.”

AAHRPP has accredited research entities across the U.S. and in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Japan, Jordan, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.

All major U.S. independent Institutional Review Boards have earned AAHRPP accreditation. In addition, more than 85% of the top U.S. National Institutes of Health-funded academic medical centers and 70% of U.S. medical colleges are AAHRPP accredited or have begun the accreditation process.


Situated in Maine’s economic and cultural center, the University of Southern Maine (USM) is a public university with 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students taking courses online and at campuses in Portland, Gorham and Lewiston-Auburn. Known for its academic excellence, student focus and engagement with the community, USM provides students with hands-on experience that complements classroom learning and leads to employment opportunities in one of the nation’s most desirable places to live.