Director, Office of Human Research Ethics

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in North Carolina

Deadline Open until filled
Date Posted August 6, 2014
Type Executive
Salary Commensurate with experience
Employment Type Full-time

Position Summary:


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) seeks a high-energy, service-oriented leader for the position of Director of the Office of Human Research Ethics (OHRE The OHRE is responsible for ethical and regulatory oversight of all research at UNC that involves human subjects. The OHRE oversees the planning, direction, and execution of the Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) and all related activities, with responsibility for approximately 4,500 active protocols. The OHRE Director reports to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and is responsible for the day-to-day management of approximately 20 professional and administrative staff and an annual operating budget of nearly $2 million. UNC has maintained AAHRPP accreditation since 2009.  UNC's annual externally funded research portfolio stands just under $800 million, an amount that has doubled in the last decade. UNC is among the nations leading universities in NIH funding; our clinical and translational science institute, ( ) funded in 2008, provides regulatory and research ethics support. Research endeavors span a broad array of disciplines, and UNC continues to commit significant resources to building the scale and quality of its research enterprise. UNC represents a highly collaborative and international research environment. It is common for researchers from multiple University schools, departments, and units to collaborate on research grants, contracts, and studies, and the University also partners with a large and diverse group of outside organizations around the world. This approach reflects the University's emphasis on interdisciplinary teaching and scholarship between and among the health, natural,social and behavioral sciences, as well as the liberal arts and the humanities.


Position Duties: To fulfill the Universitys obligations to promote the ethical conduct of research and protect the rights of human research subjects, the OHRE Director will 1) assure compliance with federal, state, and institutional regulations, guidelines, and policies; 2) provide ongoing education, training, and mentoring for investigators, IRB members and staff, and university officials; and 3) oversee the OHRE office and its six IRBs, including operating budgets, and hiring, evaluation, promotion, and development of professional staff. 


Responsibilities include:

  • Interpret and apply federal, state, and local regulations, policies, and procedures related to human subjects research.
  • Work closely with senior administrators to ensure institutional compliance with the ethical and regulatory requirements for human subjects research, and understand the impact of any proposed regulatory changes on institutional policies pertaining to human subjects research.
  • Act as primary liaison with federal and state agencies on human research issues; consult with proponent agency staff as necessary regarding the interpretation and implementation of guidelines.
  • Consult with the UNC Office of University Counsel staff, department chairs, and principal investigators regarding how guidelines should be implemented.
  • Monitor IRB activities and programs; prepare an annual operating budget, and supervise OHRE staff; maintain institutional assurances, registration, and approvals needed for the conduct of human research.
  • Implement and oversee necessary standards to maintain full AAHRPP accreditation.
  • Develop and present educational programs and workshops for IRB members, faculty and staff on the protection of human research subjects; provide guidance and consultation to investigators and research staff.
  • Ensure that OHRE staff are fully trained, provides consistent, helpful, and professional advice, and conducts assessments in a timely fashion.


Position Requirements:


Education: A graduate degree is highly preferred.  Minimum requirements include a bachelor's degree with at least 10 years of experience in human subjects research, and Certified IRB Professional (CIP) certification.


Qualifications & Experience: The Director will be a well-respected leader in research administration who is able to work within the leadership matrix of UNC.  She or he will be a strategic thinker, displaying a passion for research, and expressing a strong personal commitment to the mission and values of the University. The Director will have exceptional interpersonal skills, be able to manage complex professional relationships with an appreciation for the inherent tensions and interdependencies of research oversight and research missions, and be able to navigate hard decisions with diplomacy.


Specific Requirements:


  • Demonstrated understanding of and experience in the research environment of a major university/medical center and its education, public service, and patient-care missions.
  • At least 3 years of supervisory experience, including management and professional experience, education, business acumen, judgment, and integrity to train, manage, and develop staff in an effective and consistent manner, and to lead operations that serve participants in human research, investigators, administrators, and regulators and represent the best interests of human subjects, and the University.
  • Expert knowledge of federal, state, and local agency regulations associated with sustaining and enhancing a campus-wide program for human subject protection, and working knowledge of AAHRPP standards and requirements.
  • Outstanding verbal and written communication stills, including the ability to develop and present effective educational and training materials.
  • University research experience is desired.



The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is an equal opportunity employer that welcomes all to apply, including protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.

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