The Value of AAHRPP Accreditation

Tip Sheets

The primary purpose of AAHRPP accreditation is to strengthen protections for research participants. Each accreditation advances that objective and helps build public trust and confidence in research.

The benefits of AAHRPP’s comprehensive approach extend beyond participants to the research enterprise as a whole. Perhaps the greatest value is to those organizations that earn the privilege of displaying the AAHRPP seal. For them, attaining AAHRPP accreditation has proved to be both the right and the smart thing to do. The vast majority find that AAHRPP accreditation provides an excellent return on their investment. Equally important, the value of AAHRPP accreditation endures and is reinforced through reaccreditation.
AAHRPP-accredited organizations:

  • Earn the respect and meet the expectations of their peers. Long regarded as the gold standard, AAHRPP accreditation is becoming the norm for quality research programs. All major U.S. independent institutional review boards (IRBs) are AAHRPP accredited. More than 60 percent of U.S. research-intensive universities and 65 percent of U.S. medical schools are either AAHRPP accredited or have begun the accreditation process. Increasingly, organizations that have not earned AAHRPP accreditation are being asked, “Why not?”
  • Play a leadership role in collaborative efforts. AAHRPP accreditation instills trust among research partners and, therefore, is becoming a requirement for collaboration. AAHRPP-accredited organizations often insist that accreditation status be a determining factor in decisions on external IRB review.
  • Gain a competitive edge with sponsors and other funders, who recognize that AAHRPP-accredited organizations have more efficient operations, provide more comprehensive protections, and produce high-quality data. Virtually all sponsors require independent IRBs to be AAHRPP accredited. Some sponsors also consider accreditation status when choosing investigative sites.
  • Reduce the risk of non-compliance. AAHRPP accreditation signifies that an organization has built the necessary infrastructure for a quality human research protection program (HRPP). AAHRPP-accredited organizations tend to have more streamlined, effective policies and procedures. These organizations also typically keep better records and are more likely to avoid costly shutdowns and problematic inspections.
  • Enhance their standing with U.S. federal agencies, which are more likely to target non-accredited organizations for inspections. Federal agencies have begun seeking AAHRPP accreditation for their own HRPPs. The central IRB of the National Cancer Institute earned AAHRPP accreditation in December 2012.
  • Benefit from a common commitment to continuous quality improvement. AAHRPP-accredited organizations share innovative practices and collect data to help establish benchmarks and assess quality improvement. AAHRPP compiles and distributes these data to aid organizations, sponsors, government agencies, and participants in identifying and promoting high-quality practices.


Need help making the case for AAHRPP accreditation? Contact us for information that you can share with decision-makers within your organization.