IRB Transformation

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Office for Research Protections     |     Institutional Review Board      

The Office for Research Protections (ORP) wants to make sure all human subjects researchers are aware of the recent reorganization of the IRB programs for the University. This re-envisioning, already underway, creates a centralized IRB organizational structure with new resources: the Human Research Protection Program (HRPP). 

What is the IRB transformation? 

  • Unifies the University Park-based IRB program, located within the ORP, and the College of Medicine’s Human Subjects Protection Office (HSPO) into the Human Research Protection Program (HRPP), under the leadership of Rachel Lally, Executive Director of the HRPP.   
  • Two review teams within one program: one for full board studies and one for expedited/exempt reviews.   
  • A third, newly established team will focus on Single IRB reliance and regulatory support. 
  • University leadership has committed to hiring new positions to meet increased research volume.  A new Assistant Director, IRB Education Coordinator, and an additional IRB Analyst have started this month. Additional hiring for more IRB analysts is underway. 
  • IRB board meetings will become more frequent.  With several board meetings each week, the goal is for researchers at all campuses to have the opportunity to get their project pre-reviewed and discussed at a meeting sooner. 
  • Establishment of an HRPP Advisory Committee, which includes representatives from across the University, including College of Medicine, University Park, and Commonwealth campuses. 

What are the goals of this transition? 

The goals of the IRB transformation are:  

  • improve IRB review timelines;  
  • improve the consistency and efficiency of IRB reviews and processes;  
  • and develop a Single IRB reliance program.   

How will this affect researchers? 

The overall IRB review process will not change: CATS IRB will continue to be the submission portal for IRB applications, and the IRB’s toolkit of protocols, templates, and worksheets remains the same. There are no changes to the federal regulations or review criteria; any future changes to PSU’s HRPP Toolkit will be in the service of streamlining reviews. 

Changes researchers may see: 

  • Researchers may be assigned a new IRB Analyst because of staff expansion and the reorganization of review teams; find your analyst at   
  • Later in 2021, the HRPP will transition to a single website:
  • By the end of 2021, researchers can expect improved turnaround times for IRB review.