IRB Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Update a Previously Approved IRB Proposal?

To update a previously approved IRB Proposal Application take your original, approved application and simply add- “Update {date of edit} followed by an explanation and justification for the changes at the appropriate section(s) where necessary.

Once you have made the necessary changes, please resubmit it to the IRB committee and we’ll move quickly with our vetting  and approval process.

Do I Need To Apply to Two Institutional Review Boards?

There are situations where a researcher may need to apply to or communicate with two IRBs. Generally this would mean there is a primary and a secondary IRB. Here are a few examples of when you may need to communicate with two IRBs.

  • The setting for research has an IRB and requires approval for research to take place. This may occur at a medical setting or a university. In this case, NU IRB would still still need to approve the research when research is for NU publication.
  • An NU employee is completing a graduate degree at another institution. The overseeing institution is the primary guidance for the employee/student. NU IRB would need to review if the research takes place on campus/with persons or groups from NU.
  • There is more than one researcher. Their university may require transparency of research being performed at their work and elsewhere.
  • There is more than one location the research where the research is taking place. Permission may need to be granted at each location such as universities or medical settings each with IRB protocols.

I Am Introducing My Students to the Research Process. Does My Class Need to Complete PHRP (Protecting Human Research Participants) Training?

It depends. Here are a few considerations. Please e-mail the IRB chair at if you have further questions.

  • Does the research fall under exempt status?
  • Will students be communicating directly with research participants? Interviews, emails, etc.
  • Will students be looking at anonymous data?
  • Will students be building upon this project in the future?
  • Will there be dissemination of scholarship outside of the classroom exercise?

What File Format Should I Submit My Documents In?

Please submit the IRB Application (and appendices when able) as a single Microsoft Word (DOCX) document. This helps the IRB Committee’s review process.

I Completed Human Research Training Previously, or at a Different School. Do I Need to Complete PHRP Training For This Application?

As there are more than one companies providing training to researchers, the NU IRB will generally honor recent training on research with human subjects completed elsewhere. Most training programs recommend re-certification every 1 to 5 years, deferring the exact timing to each IRB and its governing body. NU required re-certification every 5 years. The NU IRB will consider when training last occurred, the validity of the training program, and the sensitivity of the research proposal when making their determination. Certification of training is required.