Institutional Review Board (Human Subjects Review Board)

The IRB (HSRB) at RWU protects individuals who participate in research conducted at the university or as sponsored by a member of the RWU community. 

We also offer resources and consultation to students, staff, and faculty conducting research with human participants. 

New Process

We are excited to announce the new process for submitting IRB (HSRB) Initial Applications! 

The new Etrieve system is now live and the Qualtrics application is no longer available for Initial Applications.

  • IRB (HSRB) Initial Application information will remain the same the application will be submitted via Etrieve rather than Qualtrics. 
  • You can find details about this change, and the process of application, in the Basic Steps section of this website
  • There are additional details, including a video showing the process of Initial Application, in the Resources section of this website
  • Still have questions about this change or anything IRB (HSRB) related? We welcome questions and consultation!  Please contact us at


The IRB (HSRB) adheres to federal assurances through the Office of Human Research Protections (OHRP). 

Additional information and resources regarding federal assurances 

The IRB (HSRB) evaluates an applicant's level of request for review (Exempt, Expedited, or Full) based upon the definition of research and level of risk to participant outlined by the OHRP and RWU IRB (HSRB) protocols.  Board members are available to provide consultation and support throughout  the IRB (HSRB) process. Please feel free to email us at

The role of the IRB (HSRB) is to evaluate your protocol to ensure that individuals' rights are respected, according to the OHRP guidelines and recommendations for research, including the following activities involving human participants:

  • quantitative or qualitative research studies
  • community engagement activities
  • program evaluations
  • interviews
  • surveys
  • observations
  • other activities and interventions with human participants

How to Apply

The IRB (HSRB) offers guidance regarding the definition of research, determining the appropriate review status for your proposal, and the application process.  Please begin with the BASIC STEPS tab to begin the IRB (HSRB) application process. 

Please note that IRB (HSRB) will respond to your application within 12-14 business days.  However, oftentimes, applications reviewed require additional clarification and/or modification.  As such, IRB (HSRB) recommends that your study timeline include 3-4 weeks for the IRB (HSRB) application process from submission to final approval.  Please let us know if you have any questions.  

RWU Human Subjects Review Board COVID-19 Response (revised December 15, 2020)

Changes in the RWU IRB (HSRB) policy reflect the university's commitment to supporting faculty and student research programs, while minimizing risks to research participants and RWU personnel (principal investigators and research assistants)  This approach is consistent with recommendations outlined by the Office of Human Research Protections (OHRP), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), and those of the RWU Emergency Response Team. 

Please see our Resources for questions regarding RWU IRB (HSRB) guidelines for either research involving an ONGOING/Approved protocol or for a NEW/Proposed application.