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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Process

Welcome to our guide to the IRB process at Saint Louis University. If you’ve made it through the considerations on our Getting Started page and determined that you need IRB approval for your research, this section will take you through next steps.

In general, the IRB process includes:

  • Creating and submitting your IRB application for IRB review
  • Receiving a request to make any necessary revisions to obtain IRB approval
  • Getting notice of your IRB approval – now you can begin your research project
  • Conducting the research exactly as approved by the IRB
  • Submitting necessary forms during the conduct of the study, such as: an amendment to change the protocol, a continuing review to extend the expiration, other reportable events and a final report to close your study.

The time to process an application depends on the complexity of the research study and the quality and completeness of the application submitted to the IRB. Other variables include whether the application can be approved by the IRB Chair or Chair Designee (expedited review) or by the full board.

The most common problem with new protocol applications is that not enough detail is provided for the IRB reviewers to evaluate the study's purpose and/or procedures. The more complete the initial description is, the less likely that your application will be routed back and forth between you and IRB reviewers to fill in the details. Read each question in the application carefully. Provide a complete and accurate answer to each question, and make sure that details throughout the application are consistent.

This section has the forms, guidance and information you need for the various phases of the IRB process. Select from the options below.

Study Design Considerations

This page will help you design your study and develop an IRB Application. The “Sample Protocols” link will take you to a portal of already approved SLU IRB Applications organized by type of research. For clinical researchers, we’ve provided links to helpful NIH protocol design tools and templates. 

Learn More About Study Design Considerations

 
Submitting the IRB Application

This page will help you prepare and submit an IRB Application. It will guide you to the right forms, provide helpful tools for our eIRB system, and list upcoming meeting dates and submission deadlines for higher risk studies that require  full board review by the convened IRB Committee. You can also learn about Scientific Pre-Review requirements for unfunded studies and more.

Learn More About Submitting the IRB Application

 
Using an External/Central IRB

This page will help you prepare and submit an IRB Application to an approved external/central IRB. Using an external or central IRB for IRB review still requires an abbreviated submission to the SLU IRB Office for local administrative review and pre-authorization. This page includes forms and helpful tools to guide you through this process.  It also contains information on IRB expectations for conducting IRB-approved research and the forms and guidance you may need along the way.

Learn More About Using an External/Central IRB

 
Conducting Research after IRB Approval

The IRB expects you to conduct your study exactly as it was approved unless an amendment is submitted and approved by the IRB prior to implementing changes. This section contains information on IRB expectations for conducting IRB-approved research and the forms and guidance you may need along the way.

Learn More About Conducting Research After Approval

IRB Forms and Guidelines

Know what you're looking for? This page allows you to search for forms and guidelines to get what you need. 

Find IRB Forms and Guidelines