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IRB Metrics Update: 2015-16 Academic Year

The UT Knoxville Institutional Review Board has prepared a report highlighting the volume of submissions handled by the IRB, average turnaround time, and average number of submissions before approval during the 2015-16 academic year.

This first graph shows a total of 3,645 studies and associated requests were approved, with 597 exempt, 2,085 expedited, 141 full board, and 822 other forms.

Number of Submissions by Review Type (2015-16 Academic Year)

The second graph illustrates how diligently the IRB strives to maximize the efficiency of review for all review categories. The average review turnaround days for all review types is shown below. Full board review averaged 18 days, expedited averaged 9 days, and exempt averaged 6 days.

Average IRB Turnaround Time by Review Type (2015-16 Academic Year)

The third graph shows how many rounds of reviews were required before approval for studies submitted.  In order to reduce submission rounds and speed the time lapse for approval, the office has identified key areas where delays tend to occur. Below we highlight these pitfalls and provide useful advice for investigators. Please note that some of these issues occur in the department, before the application is received by the IRB, so our advice addresses this as well.

Number of Submission Rounds of Form 1 (2015-16 Academic Year)

  1. Departmental Approval: A submission must be approved by the department before it can be review by the IRB. Be sure that you include your faculty advisor (if you are a student), Department Review Chair (DRC) and department head in the application (Section 3). If you are a member of the study and the DRC or department head, you must designate someone else to serve as reviewer for you on this study. Approving your own project would present a conflict of interest.
    Please be sure that all individuals required to sign off are checked and assigned an order number during the routing process Note that a significant number of studies are returned due to incorrect routing.
  2. Departmental Rejection: When a submission is rejected during the routing for signatures the investigator must revise the submission and proceed to route for signatures to all department individuals that have not previously signed off. The IRB cannot review the study unless all departamental signatures have been collected.
  3. Revisions: Some provisos may require for the PI to clarify or modify forms and attachments. Be sure all provisos are addressed and revised attachments are included with your re-submission.
    In doing a revision a PI may include additional information that results in a request for further revisions. For example, a study may be submitted for exempt review but in responding to provisos the reviewer may find that the risk level has changed and ask the investigator to re-submit as expedited. Please be sure to provide detail information with your first submission to accelerate the process.

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