To see all submission deadlines and meeting dates, see the HRPP’s Dates and Deadlines webpage.
Note that only protocols that involve greater than minimal risk are subject to these deadlines. All protocols that qualify as exempt or for expedited review are reviewed on a rolling basis and may be submitted for review at any time.
The term "exempt" means the research is exempt from some of the Federal Regulations. Note that exempt research continues to be subject to state laws, institutional policies and the requirements for ethical research. If your research falls under one of the six exemption categories, your application will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
The term "expedited" means the research does not require full-committee review and can therefore be reviewed on a rolling basis by a subset of the IRB committee. This does not mean the application will be fast-tracked.
HRPP staff will initially inform you of their receipt of your application after it has been submitted both electronically and as hard copy. Your protocol will be pre-reviewed by the IRB administrator, who may contact you with required revisions. Once these revisions are complete, the application will be reviewed by the IRB committee. The IRB administrator will inform you if your protocol has been approved or requires further revisions. Note that you may not begin your research project until after final IRB approval has been received.
For more detailed information regarding the review process see the HRPP’s Application Review Process webpage.
From submission to approval, this process usually takes two to three weeks for exempt and expedited research, though if extensive revisions are required this timeline could be extended.
Note that exempt does not mean the application does not require review, and that expedited does not mean the application will be fast-tracked; they simply do not require full-committee review and can therefore be reviewed on a rolling basis.
For applications that require full-committee review, the length of time will also depend on whether your application was received before the deadline for the next IRB meeting (see the Dates and Deadlines webpage). If it was, the process usually takes between four and five weeks.
Human Research Protection Program
Bernstein-Marcus 2nd floor, MS 116
415 South Street
Waltham, MA 02453