Saint Louis University

Use of Central/External IRBs

Use of Central IRBs

Saint Louis University has established partnerships with the following central IRBs:

  • Quorum Review IRB
  • Schulman Associates IRB (SAIRB)
  • StrokeNet IRB
  • Western IRB (WIRB) and Affiliates (Copernicus Group, Aspire, Midlands, & New England)

These are the only central IRBs that SLU researchers can use at this time. If you have a study that requires reliance on another IRB, please contact IRB Director, Melissa Fink at or 977-9814 to discuss the possibility of an exception.

** SLU authorization is required to use a Central IRB **

 Can I use a Central IRB?

A clinical trial may be eligible for submission to a central IRB if it meets all of the following criteria*:

  • Is an industry-sponsored, multi-center clinical trial, partner NIH trial, or has been granted an exception to use a central IRB
  • Has already been pre-reviewed or approved by a partner central IRB (submitted by sponsor or another site)
  • Procedures take place at an authorized site (SLU, SSM Health SLU Hospital, and SSM Health sites)
  • Is not an HUD
  • SLU investigators do not hold the IND or IDE 
  • Study was not previously reviewed by SLU IRB

*NCI CIRB serves studies sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and is limited to SLU- and CIRB-approved Principal Investigators and CIRB-approved studies. The list of eligibility criteria does not apply to NCI CIRB. 

What steps do I take to submit to a Central IRB?

Use of External IRBs

SLU investigators engaged in the conduct of human subjects research are required to have IRB approval and oversight, but in certain circumstances, a non-SLU (External) IRB may be authorized to perform this role.

Common scenarios include, but are not limited to studies under the following conditions and only if there is an IRB Authorization Agreement (IAA or Reliance Agreement) with the External IRB:

  • SLU and the External IRB's organization are conducting research jointly;
  • The External IRB is deemed to be more able to review the study than SLU's IRB; 
  • There is a sponsor or other mandate to use the external IRB; or 
  • All human subjects research has been subcontracted to the external organization.

** SLU authorization is required to use an External IRB **

Can I use an External IRB?

To determine whether or not use of an external IRB is appropriate for your minimal risk study, investigators can complete the IRB Reliance Agreement Determination Form. If the study involves a collaboration with Washington University, and all research activities (except data analysis) take place at one institution, investigators can complete the SLU-Washington University Umbrella Agreement Determination Form instead.

To determine whether or not use of a non-partner external IRB is appropriate for your study, contact the IRB Director at 977-9814 or

Additional information can be found in the Guidance for Studies involving Non-SLU Researchers or Non-SLU Sites.

Who should I contact if I have questions?

Questions about submission to the Central IRBs: contact Emily Harrison at or 314-977-7741 or contact the Central IRBs directly (contact information on individual sub-pages).

Questions regarding whether SLU is willing to rely on an External IRB/Central IRB: contact Melissa Fink, IRB Director at or 314-977-9814.



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