Office of Public Affairs

Key accreditation gives boost to University work for Maine innovators

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 Board formed by the Maine Regulatory Training and Ethics Center at USM. The non-profit IRB at the university reviews research projects that request the use of human subjects. Such reviews are a fundamental step in life science research and innovation.

“An accreditation like this is part of building the infrastructure needed to develop the life sciences in this state,” said Ross Hickey, the director of the Maine Regulatory Training and Ethics Center 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 by 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.