Collaborative Research

UIS faculty and students benefit from collaborative research with other scientists.  When those scientists are at other institutions, and human research is involved, then coordinating IRB proposal submissions is necessary to proceed smoothly.

When we receive an IRB application that indicates there is a co-investigator from another institution that has a Federalwide Assurance with OHRP (or a research amendment to an approved application adding such a collaborator is submitted), it is our policy to require written documentation of IRB approval from your collaborator’s IRB. In these cases you may obtain University of Illinois IRB approval before your collaborator’s IRB approval is obtained, but you must submit a copy of their IRB approval letter before they can engage in human subjects research activities related to your approved protocol.

Institutional Authorization Agreements

An exception to this policy is made on a case-by-case basis by the UIS HSRO (with input from the IRB as necessary). We consult with the IRB office at your collaborator’s institution and make a mutual decision that an Institutional Authorization Agreement that makes one IRB the “IRB of record” is appropriate. An Institutional Authorization Agreement is a written agreement between two federally assured institutions which allows the IRB of one institution to rely on the IRB review and approval of the other for a specific research study.   In these cases, researchers at the institution with the IRB that will be the IRB of record obtain formal IRB approval, while those at the other institution will rely on the institutional authorization agreement (rather than being required to file an IRB application at their own institution).

A sample Institutional Authorization Agreement can be found in the Forms, Templates, and Checklists area on this website.

Memoranda of Understanding

The purpose of a “Memorandum of Understanding” (MOU) is to formalize an affiliation between University of Illinois and another institution that have researchers who frequently collaborate with UIS researchers on protocols that involve human subjects research. The MOU is established by each institution’s office for research (such as our Office of Research and Sponsored Programs), IRB, Human Subjects Review Officer, legal counsel, etc. The difference between an MOU and an Institutional Authorization Agreement is that the MOU can be used to cover any collaborative research that includes researchers from both institutions on protocols involving human subjects research, where each IRB agrees that the MOU can be used so that one IRB will be the IRB of record (as opposed to institutional authorization agreements, which are protocol specific).

When each IRB agrees to use the MOU for the project, a brief letter is sent from the institution that will use the MOU to rely on the other IRB. In cases where the University of Illinois IRB will rely on your collaborator’s IRB to be the IRB of record, UIS researchers will not need to file a University of Illinois IRB application (as we will rely on the approved application at the other IRB). Conversely, when the other institution is using the MOU to rely on the Illinois IRB, then the campus researchers will need to file an IRB application and get approval.

Currently UIS only has an MOU with the IRB at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.