UW Research

UW is the Lead or Coordinating Site

The lead or coordinating site is usually the institution that receives the grant or contract directly from a funding agency and then establishes subawards or subcontracts with the participating sites. The lead PI is the PI in whose name the overall grant application was submitted to the funding agency and who is responsible for overall management and coordination of the study across all participating sites. If there is no clear lead site or PI identified as part of the funding structure, it will be important to identify which site will serve as the lead for the role of coordinating single IRB (sIRB) review responsibilities. The lead has specific responsibilities related to the sIRB, described below.

Grant or contract preparation

NIH requirements for multi-site studies

For studies subject to NIH’s multi-site policy, NIH requires the lead PI to:

  1. Select the IRB that will serve as the sIRB for the project.
  2. Identify and budget for any costs associated with sIRB review. Include any sIRB fees and sIRB-related personnel costs in the grant budget, as well as appropriate budget justification information. See the PHS G.300 – R&R Budget Form for information about where in the budget form to put this information.
  3. Obtain preliminary confirmation from all participating sites that they are willing to rely upon the selected sIRB.
    • The participating site PI is responsible for contacting the appropriate office at his/her institution, obtaining confirmation of the institution’s willingness to rely on the selected sIRB, and communicating the confirmation to the lead PI.
    • The UW lead PI may wish to provide participating site PIs with a template letter of support, to assist in obtaining and documenting the confirmation. Note that NIH does not require letters of support from participating institutions about their use of sIRB.
  4. Provide required information in the funding application. The lead PI must prepare a Single IRB Plan for the grant/contract application and complete the appropriate human subjects forms.

NIH requirements for collaborative studies

NIH has not established policy or provided guidance about what information to include in funding proposals for collaborative research not subject to the NIH multi-site policy but which must use a sIRB in order to comply with the revised Common Rule. Regardless of what information will go into the funding application, HSD strongly recommends that researchers complete the following steps prior to submitting the application to the funding agency:

  1. Select the IRB that will serve as the sIRB for the project.
  2. Identify and budget for any costs associated with sIRB review.
  3. Obtain preliminary confirmation from all participating sites that they are willing to rely upon the selected sIRB.

Requirements of other funding agencies

Other federal agencies have not established policy or provided guidance about what information to include in funding proposals for collaborative research which must use a single IRB in order to comply with the revised Common Rule. Regardless of what information will go into the funding application, HSD strongly recommends that researchers complete the following steps prior to submitting the application to the funding agency:

  1. Select the IRB that will serve as the sIRB for the project.
  2. Identify and budget for any costs associated with sIRB review.
  3. Obtain preliminary confirmation from all participating sites that they are willing to rely upon the selected sIRB.

UW requirements

Consult with HSD about selecting the sIRB prior to submitting the funding application. HSD recommends that you do this prior to obtaining confirmation from participating sites about their willingness to rely on the selected sIRB. HSD cannot guarantee its willingness to support the use of a sIRB that has been selected without its consultation and approval.

After assessing the acceptability of the proposed IRB, HSD will typically provide the UW investigator with a letter of support. This should be retained for study records. If desired, a copy can be included in the grant proposal.

If your funding commitment includes the involvement of non-UW institutions (for example, Seattle Children’s or Northwest Kidney Centers) in obtaining consent, collecting identifiable data from research participants or conducting research procedures, each of these organizations will need to agree to the sIRB arrangement and to provide their own confirmation of the agreement.

Study set up and management

When the grant is awarded study set-up requires formally establishing the sIRB arrangement as well as setting up the personnel and structure for handling the lead site responsibilities.