UW Research

Research Involving Washington State Agencies

UW research that involves these state agencies must be reviewed by the Washington State IRB (WSIRB). The agencies are considered to be involved when (1) their employees or agents intervene or interact with research participants; (2) their employees or agents use or disclose individually identifiable private information for research; (3) the agency receives a direct federal award to conduct human subjects research; or (4) subjects are recruited from a WA State agency facility or the research activities target state agency clients, beneficiaries, patients, wards or employees, even if all activities involving human subjects are carried out by UW researchers or another collaborator.

  • WA Department of Children, Youth, and Families
  • WA Department of Corrections
  • WA Department of Health (including the CHARS database)
  • WA Department of Labor and Industries
  • WA Department of Social and Health Services
  • WA Health Care Authority
  • WA Office of Financial Management

In addition, some state agencies may require WSIRB review as a condition of award for grants or contracts they issue.

This requirement applies even when the UW IRB or another IRB is serving as the single IRB under the federal single IRB mandate.

UW researchers who are unsure whether WSIRB review will be required should contact wsirb@dshs.wa.gov to obtain a consultation. HSD will provide assistance when possible with identifying the need to obtain WSIRB review; however, UW researchers remain responsible for confirming when WSIRB review is and is not required and for obtaining any required review prior to beginning the research.

Two typical review paths

Path One: When the research will take place entirely within state facilities or solely with state employees or state-held data, the UW will typically rely entirely on the review of the WSIRB. UW researchers should follow the instructions to ask for non-UW IRB review, and should submit for review to the Washington State IRB following their instructions. UW researchers relying entirely on the WSIRB must still follow UW required responsibilities.

Path Two: When some portions of the research will involve state agencies and some will not involve state agencies, the WSIRB will typically only review the activities involving the state agencies and the UW IRB will review the portions of the study not involving the state agencies. In these situations, the WSIRB requires the execution of a “Split Agreement” which defines review obligations for the study. Researchers should submit an application for review to both the UW IRB and the WSIRB. A request to rely on a non-UW IRB is not required. The WSIRB will provide the split agreement and the HSD will execute the agreement and add it to the UW IRB application. Send any split agreements to the HSD Reliance Team at hsdrely@uw.edu.

In some situations, another review arrangement may be appropriate for the study as identified by the research team. For example,

  • the UW might rely on the WSIRB for the entirety of a research project taking place both within and outside of state agencies when the WSIRB has greater expertise, or in order to reduce the number of IRBs involved in the project, or
  • another IRB might review the study in order to meet the requirements of the federal single IRB mandate

In these situations, first contact the WA State IRB at wsirb@dshs.wa.gov to determine what they will review, then contact hsdrely@uw.edu to discuss the reliance arrangement.

Review Fees

WSIRB charges review fees for most of its reviews. This is regardless of whether or not the research has grant or contract funding, or the PI is faculty, staff or a student. UW researchers are responsible for paying all fees associated with review. Fees are due in full in advance of review. HSD does not pay these fees or negotiate the fees with WSIRB. A limited class of research being conducted on behalf of state agencies may qualify for allocation of the fees to the agency. Contact wsirb@dshs.wa.gov if you have any questions regarding WSIRB review fees.