Today’s clinical research enterprise reflects a decades-long effort to continually raise the bar for research ethics, safety, and quality. This effort has its roots in the Nuremberg Code, the Declaration of Helsinki, and the Belmont Report, three documents that set forth the guiding principles for research involving human participants.
Together, the Nuremberg Code, the Declaration of Helsinki, and the Belmont Report underscore the research community’s determination to prevent the mistakes and abuses of the past. The documents call for an unwavering commitment to maintain high standards to protect participants and strengthen public trust and confidence in research.

WIRB-Copernicus Group® (WCG) has demonstrated this commitment from the start. Western Institutional Review Board® (WIRB) pioneered the concept of ethical research review by an independent board in 1968—even before the passage of the National Research Act of 1974 and the issuance of the Belmont Report.

In the years since, the WCG family of companies have consistently taken the lead- not only in ensuring compliance with research regulations, but also in embracing innovations that enhance protections and advance high-quality research. In April 2003, for example, WIRB once again earned a place in history by becoming the first independent IRB to attain accreditation by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs® (AAHRPP). A month later, sister company New England Independent Review Board (New England IRB) followed suit, becoming the second AAHRPP-accredited independent IRB.

Another WCG company, Copernicus Group Independent Review Board® (Copernicus IRB), was the first independent review board to achieve International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certification for quality management. WIRB has since attained ISO certification as well. WIRB and Copernicus remain the only independent IRBs to have earned this distinction.

Every WCG decision and innovation reinforces our goal of driving progress while ensuring ethical standards that are above reproach. And every solution cements our commitment to remain the industry leader—and your trusted partner—for decades to come.
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