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External IRBs

In an effort to reduce duplicate submissions and oversight by multiple IRBs for the same project, the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) Office for the Protection of Research Subjects (OPRS) offers reliance opportunities.  This guidance and website are intended to:
  • Outline PI and study team responsibilities when the UIC IRB is ceding oversight to an external IRB for a Multi-Site Study
  • Provide step-by-step instructions for UIC investigators
The UIC OPRS will not enter into reliance agreements for the following scenarios:
  • Exempt research projects or activities determined to not represent human subjects research
  • Institutions located outside of the United States
  • Non-NIH funded research limited to chart review.  Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis, based on the justification provided.
  • Activities lacking definite plans for the involvement of human subjects (“Development Only/Center/Training Grant” applications)

What is an External IRB? Heading link

An external IRB is any non-UIC IRB that performs a review of UIC research.  External IRBs can include a commercial IRB (e.g., WCG), IRBs affiliated with other hospitals, academic institutions, or organizations, and national center IRBs (e.g., National Cancer Institute Central IRB).  UIC may be willing to cede IRB review (or allow an external IRB to conduct the review) for different types of studies ONLY after the review is authorized by OPRS and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research (OVCR).

Investigators may not make an independent decision as to whether a reliance agreement is appropriate, and should never commit to a reliance without consulting the UIC OPRS.

Current options for external IRB review of research to be conducted at UIC include:

Each of these options has specific eligibility and submission requirements.  Please visit the links above for additional information.


Contact Heading link

For general questions regarding External IRB reviews, please contact or