Welcome to the Social and Behavioral Sciences Institutional Review Board (SBS IRB) at the University of Chicago.
News (03/23/2018): the AURA IRB application has been updated. The updates include revisions to streamline human subjects research determinations and requests to cede IRB review, an additional section to request waivers of HIPAA authorization, and revisions in preparation for the revised Common Rule changes set to go into effect in July. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or to report any errors.
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 beyond 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 /sites/sbsirb.uchicago.edu/files/uploads/AURA%20IRB%20FAQ%20UPDATED%2011.11.16.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
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. For federally funded research, continuing review 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. For many studies that are minimal risk and not federally funded, the SBS IRB grants 3-year IRB approvals. The SBS IRB's 3-year approval policy is available on the IRB website.
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.