Timeline for IRB Review

Timeline for Review

One of the questions frequently asked of the Radford University IRB office is, “When will my IRB protocol be reviewed?” or “How long will it take for my IRB protocol to be approved?”

Protocols are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis year-round. While the time for IRB review will vary, it typically takes 4-6 weeks from submission to approval of a protocol to occur. We ask that you plan accordingly. 

Many times, an IRB application will be returned by the IRB office to the PI for revisions following IRB review due to an incomplete response(s) to questions in the IRB application or lack of required documents for the project. It is important to remember to carefully read each question on the IRB application and respond to each question. 

In those cases, the Radford University IRB office will return the protocol to the PI for revisions. Once revisions are submitted, the protocol application is again reviewed in the order it was received. 

If "Expedited" does not mean fast, what is an Expedited review for IRB?

A researcher may contact the Radford University IRB office to request an “expedited” review of their protocol. Please note, that this does not necessarily mean the review is fast.

Expedited review is a procedure through which certain kinds of research may be reviewed and approved without convening a meeting of the IRB. The IRB regulations permit, but do not require, an IRB to review certain categories of research found in 45 CFR 46.110, through an expedited procedure if the research involves no more than minimal risk.  

Under expedited review, the review may be carried out by the IRB Chair or by one or more experienced IRB reviewers designated by the Chair. This review may exercise all of the authorities of the IRB except this reviewer may not disapprove of the research. 

For more information about the different levels of IRB review, take a look under the IRB Review /Levels of Review section of the IRB webpage.

What the researcher may mean to say instead is, “Can you rush my protocol to the front of the review queue?” Unless the request will immediately affect a participant’s well-being, the answer is usually no. It is a matter of justice and equity for your fellow Radford University researchers who are also waiting for their protocol to be reviewed.

Full Board

Full Board protocols must be submitted by the cut-off date listed under Meeting Dates & Deadlines to be considered for review at the next convened IRB meeting, dependent on meeting the requirements for a quorum. Please have your pre-review comments submitted at least 1 week prior to the meeting date so the IRB has an updated protocol to review. Please plan on at least 6 weeks for IRB review of protocols reviewed by the Full Board. 

The Radford University IRB will make every attempt to streamline the approval process while still evaluating and ensuring the protection of human subjects involved in the research.  Researchers are encouraged to contact the Research Compliance Manager with any questions or concerns about the IRB review process.