IRB Application

Exempt Reviews


  • My project has changed quite a bit. What do I do?
    You will have to file an Amendment Request. The amendment will be reviewed by the IRB. The reviewers might then ask you to submit a new protocol depending on how significant the changes actually are. Please remember that all changes should be reported to the IRB, no matter how insignificant you might think they are. This includes changes in study personnel, changes in expected participants, new advertising or promotions to recruit participants, changes to incentives offered, even the slightest change to the protocol, or even a one-word change to the informed consent document. These must be reviewed and approved PRIOR to application or initiation. (Changes in personnel no longer require an Amendment Request. They may be submitted in the form of an e-mail requesting the addition and/or removal of specific research team members.)
  • Can I wait until the annual review?
    No. That would be out of compliance with federal regulations. Please contact the IRB staff for further assistance.


International Studies

  • When is a local context review required?

    Local context review is required on international research if the country where the study will be conducted does not have human subjects regulations that require local (in-country) review of the research. Local context review is sometimes required for subcultures within the US as well.

    Countries do not require local context reviews. This is something that is required by the Clemson University Office of Research Compliance (ORC) / Institutional Review Board (IRB) in order to ensure that we are appropriately assessing risk to participants in cultures we are not familiar with. 

    However, unrelated to the fact that local context reviews are a requirement of the CU ORC / IRB, there are significant differences in the regulation of human subjects research across different countries. Some countries have human subjects regulations and require governmental approval for all research being conducted in the country, and some countries do not have any regulations, or have regulations that only address biomedical human subjects research. If a country requires local review, the CU ORC / IRB will accept that review in lieu of an independent local context review. 

    If you are interested in learning more about the regulations in a particular country, the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) publishes a list of international regulations related to human subjects research on an annual basis,
  • Is local context review required for exempt research protocols?

    Yes, it is required on exempt research. The CU ORC / IRB does not always have the expertise needed to determine the level of risk involved in research that will take place in a culture other than our own.

  • How does the IRB ensure that the local context reviewer is trained in the field of study and has expertise to judge the research in question?

    Local context reviewers do not judge the research and do not have to be expert in any particular field, but they must have knowledge of the region and its cultural mores. The CU ORC / IRB asks their opinions on very specific questions having to do with the local culture and the potential risk for participants in that cultural system. 

    The ORC / IRB may ask the researcher for suggestions of people who might be appropriate to serve as local context reviewers.

  • When are translated documents required for IRB review?

    If a research protocol requires expedited or full board review, and study materials will be presented to participants in a language other than English (either verbally or in writing), the study materials must be submitted to the CU IRB in both English and the other language(s) being used. 

    Additionally, for expedited reviews, the IRB requires a letter from the person who is doing the translations for the study. This letter should state that this person has translated (or read and edited) the materials, believes that the materials will be understandable to the potential participants, and believes that the materials communicate the same message as is expressed in the corresponding English-language materials. The letter should also provide contact information for the translator. 

    In the case of a protocol requiring full board review, it is likely that a certified translation will be required. This determination will be made by the ORC / IRB on a case-by-case basis.

Study Status

  • Do I need to add this researcher to my protocol?

    Will they have access to the identifiable data or assist with data collection?  If so, they will need to be listed on the team member form. 

  • My project is finished. Do I need to tell anyone?
    Yes, please complete the Final Summary Report or contact the IRB staff as soon as possible.
  • How long do I have to keep my IRB records?
    The federal regulations require investigators to maintain signed participant informed consent forms (if applicable) for three years following completion of a study.
  • When should I close my protocol?

    Protocols should be closed if:

    1. data collection is complete and the data collected do not include any individually identifiable information or any link to individually identifiable information; in this case, research no longer involves human subjects.

    2. student investigator has graduated and their thesis/dissertation/project has been completed.

    To close a protocol, the PI should send an email to Please include the IRB number and title. The e-mail must come directly from the PI.

  • What should be done if the PI has left Clemson?

    If a PI has left or is planning to leave the university, the protocol has to be amended to name a new PI, or closed if the protocol will no longer be active at Clemson University. To name a new PI, the current PI (or Department Chair if the PI has already left Clemson) should send an Amendment Request for this change to

    If the PI will continue to work on an active IRB protocol at their new institution, they should contact the IRB at their new institution since they will no longer be covered by the Clemson University IRB approval of the research.

  • When should a protocol remain open?
    IRB protocols must remain open if you are currently enrolling new subjects, collecting data, or conducting analysis of individually identifiable data (whether directly identifiable or through coding).