NEW NIH Policy

Use of a Single Institutional Review Board for Multi-Site Research

Effective Date: January 25, 2018 for all competing grant applications (new, renewals, revisions, and resubmissions)

Scope: NIH-funded, non-exempt projects; whether supported through grants, cooperative agreements, contracts, or the NIH Intramural Research Program. This policy applies to domestic awardees and participating domestic sites. Foreign sites will not be expected to follow this policy. It does not apply to career development, research training or fellowship awards.

Summary: The NIH has issued a new policy to streamline the Institutional Review Board (IRB) process for NIH-funded, multi-site research studies. The policy sets the expectation that when more than one institution is following the same non-exempt research protocol, a single IRB will review the study. The OSU already eliminates dual review whenever possible, but this will now be a requirement for studies within the scope of this policy.

Changes to the grant application: Applicants will now be expected to include a plan for the use of a single IRB. The NIH’s acceptance of the submitted plan will be incorporated as a term and condition in the Notice of Award or in the Contract Award. The NIH FAQ #20 provides guidance on how to address this new policy in the application.

Selecting the single IRB: The IRB of record is selected by the IRBs and the Institutional Officials at the collaborating sites. The IRB of record does not necessarily follow the funding or the lead PI on the grant and is not determined by the researchers.

Key Points

  • Questions related to the use of a single IRB will soon appear in NIH grant applications
  • This policy could have a direct impact on your budget, as most institutions charge for IRB review
  • Contact the Human Research Protection Program for assistance before submitting an application for funding that includes questions about the use of a single IRB