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Ethics & Human Research

Stakeholder Reflections on Implementing the National Institutes of Health’s Policy on Single Institutional Review Boards

ABSTRACT The National Institutes of Health (NIH) requires use of a single institutional review board (sIRB) for multisite, nonexempt, NIH-funded research with human participants. The Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative (CTTI) conducted in-depth interviews with 34 stakeholders at two universities and in research administration leadership positions at multiple institutions about their experiences implementing the sIRB model, focusing on the NIH policy’s goals soon after the policy was enacted. While some stakeholders suggested that using an sIRB has streamlined and reduced inefficiencies associated with the local IRB model, more stakeholders indicated that the sIRB model has not simplified the ethics review process and instead created new inefficiencies due to unclear roles and responsibilities for staff and institutions; a lack of systems and processes for implementing the sIRB model, including communication systems; and increased workloads. CTTI used these findings to propose a new framework for evaluating the NIH sIRB policy.

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