The application form is designed to assist the IRB in identifying which activities in a multi-center study will be conducted by OSU researchers. Researchers should complete the relevant sections of the application (see the Submission Steps under New Applications).

External Collaborators and IRBs

All investigators conducting human subjects research must be covered by an IRB approval or exempt determination regardless of their affiliation with OSU. To determine which investigators should be listed on the OSU application, you can contact the HRPP Office at

There is a mechanism in place for one IRB to rely on another for non-exempt research*. This reduces the need for multiple IRBs to review a single study.  Most IRBs, but not all, are willing to use a reliance process. Therefore, there are three options for ensuring that investigators from multiple institutions are covered by an IRB approval for a single study:

  1. The OSU IRB can rely on an external institution's IRB. Please see the investigator responsibilities for this option.
  2. The OSU IRB can accept responsibility for oversight of external researchers. Please see the investigator responsibilities for this option.
  3. Each institution can oversee the research separately (except for non-exempt, NIH-funded research)

HRPP staff will help OSU researchers navigate these decisions by speaking directly with the external IRB(s). If there are external collaborators, please provide appropriate contact information for the IRB at the collaborator’s institution in the application.

The OSU HRPP is a participating institution in the SMART IRB online reliance system. If you are collaborating with researchers at another SMART IRB participating institution, we may ask you to provide information through the SMART IRB Platform. The HRPP Office will provide additional instructions during the review process.

*If a study is determined to be exempt by either the OSU HRPP or by the external institution, OSU will not enter into a reliance agreement. In this case, each institution will need to perform their own review or issue their own exempt determination.

The OHSU and OSU IRBs have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that enables OSU to rely on OHSU under the following circumstances:

  1. Research that recruits and enrolls only OHSU research subjects, or
  2. Research that is conducted by faculty with joint OHSU/OSU appointments, or
  3. Applications for which OHSU is either the primary or sub-awardee on a grant or contract, so long as OHSU is considered engaged in research as defined by the Office of Human Research Protections (OHRP).

After OSU cedes oversight, it is the PI’s responsibility to ensure that OSU receives a copy of all approvals and approved documents from OHSU.