COVID19 & Research Activities

OVCR Research-Related Updates Regarding COVID19 Emergency and Research Activities

OPRS Announces Merger of Biomedical and Biological Sciences IRBs

How will this impact review of biomedical research submissions?

The day-to-day operations and flow of submissions will largely remain unchanged. Submissions will be assigned for a pre-review in the order that they are received. This is done to assure that the appropriate level of review (convened or expedited) is conducted and to identify any potential impediments to the review process (i.e. incomplete applications, missing documents, training records, etc.).

Once the submission is determined to be complete it will be assigned to a reviewer and, if appropriate, the next convened meeting.

The biomedical IRB will meet every other Wednesday, with the first meeting on August 18th. Updated IRB meeting dates and submission deadlines can be found on the OPRS website at Submission Deadlines & Meeting Dates.

Remember- The submission deadlines only apply to studies requiring review by the convened IRB. All other submission types will continue to be reviewed in the order received.

How will IRB #3 studies be merged into the combined IRB (IRB #1):

  • All Biomedical and Biological Sciences Initial Review applications submitted for UIC IRB review on and after August 4th will be assigned to the combined biomedical IRB (IRB #1).
  • Investigators do not need to take any action related to the transfer of studies from IRB #3 to IRB #1. Current IRB #3 submissions will be moved over to the combined biomedical IRB during the next submission or automatically within OPRS Live.
  • All other submission types such as amendments, continuing review applications, prompt reports and final reports will need to be submitted as usual.

How will this merger impact other submission types?

The merger of IRBs #1 and #3 will not impact the submission and/or review of the following submission types:

  • Research applications that are eligible for review by a commercial or central IRB (e.g., WIRB, NCI CIRB, etc.);
  • Applications submitted for review by the Social and Behavioral Sciences IRB (IRB #2); and
  • Claim of Exemption and Determination applications.

What are the advantages of merging the biomedical boards?

  • This change will take the “guess work” out of determining which biomedical IRB a study has been assigned to; biomedical investigators and research personnel can simply reference IRB #1 or “the biomedical board” when seeking assistance from OPRS staff. This will also reduce confusion regarding submission deadlines and meeting schedules for submissions requiring review at a convened meeting.
  • Streamlining biomedical and biological sciences submissions through one IRB will result in improved efficiencies.
  • Consolidation of biomedical IRB member expertise will facilitate a more robust review process and improve consistency.

How will this merger impact OPRS staff supporting the biomedical IRBs?

The OPRS Assistant Directors and Coordinators supporting IRBs #1 and #3 will move to the combined IRB.

Who can investigators contact if they have questions regarding the IRB merger?

As always, if there are any questions or concerns, please contact OPRS at or (312) 996-1711.