Information for Submitting an Institutional Review Board (IRB) Proposal

If you any questions or concerns about the process for submitting an IRB proposal, please contact the IRB chair, Dr. Cathy Crosby, at ccrosby@stlawu.edu or (315) 229-5167.

Who can submit an IRB Proposal?

Any St. Lawrence University faculty or staff member can submit a proposal to the IRB. 

The individual who submits the proposal is the Principal Investigator (PI) on the project and the responsible party.  Undergraduate students cannot be the PI on a project, even if the student will be conducting most of the research. 

Graduate students who are also employed by St. Lawrence can be the PI on a project.  However, if the graduate student is conducting the research as a requirement for a course, the instructor for the course should act as the PI on the project for the purpose of IRB review.

When are proposals due?

You will find a schedule of IRB meeting dates and the due dates for each of those meetings on the main page for the IRB. Extensions on these deadlines will be granted only under the most extenuating of circumstances because the members of the IRB require time to review proposals before the meeting. 

Does the IRB meet during breaks and in the summer?

No.  All meetings of the IRB are during the fall or spring semesters.  If you are planning a project for over winter break or during the summer, you need to be sure to submit a proposal for one of the meetings in the prior semester.

For what type of research must an IRB proposal be submitted?  What are the exceptions?

Click here for information on what types of projects require IRB approval.

Are exempt or expedited procedures available at St. Lawrence for certain types of studies?

No.  Currently, all projects that fit within the definition of “research” with “human participants” as defined by the federal regulations are considered by the full committee in an official meeting.

Although the CITI Program training discusses which types of research can be (but are not required to be) treated as exempt or dealt with through expedited procedures, St. Lawrence treats all research with human participants the same way.

How do I submit an IRB Proposal?

Before you submit an IRB proposal, the PI and all collaborators must complete the CITI Program training.  Click on the links below for more information.

CITI Program Training Information

CITI Program Training Instructions for Faculty/Staff Researchers

CITI Program Training Instructions for Student Researchers

Proposals for review by the IRB are submitted on-line using the proposal submission form.  You will be required to login with your SLU network credentials before you can complete the form. Please read the instructions on the form carefully and be sure that you have provided all of the necessary information.

IRB Proposal Form

How will I be informed of the outcome of the IRB review of my proposal?

The PI and all collaborators on the project will receive an email with a pdf of the letter outlining the outcome of the review.  The PI will also receive a hard copy of that letter on IRB letter head.

When can I expect to hear the outcome of the IRB review of my proposal?

Typically, researchers will be informed of the outcome within one week from the date the IRB reviewed the proposal.

What are the possible outcomes of an IRB review?

Approved:

The researcher can begin data collection as soon as the letter from the IRB is received.

Approved with revisions:

The majority of projects receive this outcome.  The letter will clearly specify the changes that are necessary.  The researcher must submit those changes to the IRB chair by email and receive approval of the changes before data collection can begin.  Approval of the revised materials will be made by the IRB chair by email.

Tabled:

When a proposal is missing necessary information, confusing or unclear, the IRB typically will table the proposal.  That means that the researcher needs to submit additional information, and the full committee will consider the supplemented proposal at its next meeting.  The letter from the IRB will specify what information or clarification is necessary.

Rejected:

When a project violates one or more ethical principles and/or the proposal is so poorly written that the IRB is concerned about the welfare of participants in the project, the proposal will be rejected.  The reasons for the rejection will be outlined in the letter, and the researchers may submit a new proposal.