Welcome to the Social and Behavioral Sciences Institutional Review Board (SBS-IRB) at the University of Chicago. 

New IRB Policy on Terminating Expired Protocols:

The SBS IRB is putting in place a policy for termination of protocols that have expired and for which no continuing review request has been submitted.   If a study's IRB approval expires, and no continuing review is submitted by the research team within 90 days of the study's expiration date, the IRB will terminate the protocol in AURA.   We currently send a reminder 2 weeks before a study's expiration date to let the research team know that a study is nearing its expiration date -- we will continue to send those reminders.  In addition, we will send a reminder for studies that are 60 days past their expiration date and for which no continuing review has been submitted, that if the study does not submit a continuing review within 30 days, the IRB will terminate the protocol in AURA.

Of course, when a protocol's IRB approval expires, research activities including enrollment of participants and analysis of identifiable data must stop until IRB approval is renewed.  Ultimately, it is the research team's responsibility to keep track of IRB expiration dates and submit continuing
reviews on a timely basis. 

We ask that whenever possible you submit a continuing review request at least one month before the study's expiration date so that the IRB has sufficient time to process the continuing review and renew your study's approval before the expiration date.   If your study was reviewed by the convened IRB and is designated as greater than minimal risk, then you need to take into account the dates of full board meetings and be sure to submit your continuing review
before the next full board IRB meeting that falls before your study's expiration date.

When a protocol is terminated in AURA, it will not be re-activated.  If a protocol is terminated because no continuing review was filed within 90 days of the expiration date, then to continue the research will require that a new protocol be opened with the IRB. 

If you have any questions about this policy, please feel free to contact the SBS IRB.

The Protection of Human Subjects involved in Research

Research activities conducted by University of Chicago faculty and students that involve the use of human volunteers or analysis of identifiable human subjects data must be reviewed and approved by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) if the research is designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.  Generalizable knowledge refers to the intent of the research to add information to your field of study or to obtain and apply results to other settings beyond the subject population or a classroom assignment.

Human subjects research activities conducted as part of a course requirement do not require IRB review if the purpose of the assignment is to learn research methodology rather than to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.  If you are in doubt as to whether your project needs IRB review, please contact the SBS IRB and we will be happy to discuss it with you.

For a more detailed discussion of which research projects must undergo IRB review, see Does My Research Need IRB Review?

The SBS IRB office provides ethical and regulatory educational sessions for classrooms, student groups or research centers upon request. We also welcome individual appointments in our offices or, if needed, in other offices on campus.  Email addresses and phone numbers for the SBS IRB are listed at https://sbsirb.uchicago.edu/page/contact-sbs-irb

IRB Application Review Process:

IRB approval is required before human subjects research can begin (including recruitment activities). Studies which qualify for approval under expedited review or exempt status are reviewed by the IRB Chair or a designee. Protocols determined to require review by the full IRB committee will be scheduled for the next scheduled IRB meeting.  See The IRB Submission and Review Process for a detailed discussion of the submission and review process.

Human Subjects Protection Training Requirements:

Prior to submitting an IRB Application or adding new personnel to the research team, the SBS-IRB requires researchers to complete an ethical and regulatory training course in the conduct of human subjects research.  For more information on human subjects training requirements, see the guidance at Human Subjects Protection Training Requirement

Using AURA-IRB online system for IRB Applications:

The online comprehensive system for IRB applications is called AURA-IRB (Automated University Research Administration). Visit: http://aura.uchicago.edu 

For answers to Frequently Asked Questions on how to use the AURA software to submit applications to the IRB, please see http://aura.uchicago.edu/sites/aura.uchicago.edu/files/uploads/AURA%20IRB%20FAQ_8.2014.pdf

SBS IRB Listserv

If you would like to receive email updates from the SBS IRB with news about AURA IRB, new and revised IRB policies and guidance documents, and other SBS IRB news that affects researchers, you can subscribe to the SBS IRB listserv by going to https://lists.uchicago.edu/web/subscribe/sbs-irb and entering your email address.

Latest News and Announcements

Upcoming AURA IRB Training sessions

AURA IRB training sessions

For training on how to use the AURA IRB software, course information and registration is available online at https://training.uchicago.edu/course_detail.cfm?course_id=1317

"AURA IRB from A to Z" is a hands-on training session that will teach you how to navigate AURA IRB, including submitting Initial Submissions, Amendments, Continuing Reviews, and Unanticipated Problems.

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Continuing Review Requirements (Renewal of IRB Approval)

Federal regulations require an IRB to conduct substantive, meaningful continuing review of human subjects research that is within the IRB's jurisdiction.  Continuing review, sometimes referred to as "renewal," of human subjects research projects is required at least annually even if no changes have occurred to the recruitment materials, research procedures, or subject population during the IRB approval period.  If a project has completed data collection and is only doing data analysis and manuscript preparation, the project must still undergo continuing review if any personally ide

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Guidance on when to submit amendments versus new project applications

New project or modification? That is the question. Whether ‘tis nobler to change an existing study in AURA or ‘tis better to start fresh? If you engage in research long enough, at some point you face this quandary. While there is no absolute rule to follow, here are a few questions that can help guide your decision.

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