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Washington State University
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Institutional Review Board

Human Research Protection Program

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Human Research Protection Program (HRPP) review WSU research activities that involve human participants to ensure that ethical standards are met.

News & Announcements

June 15, 2021: Return to Research Guidance Update

Effective immediately, with the exception of projects that specifically target participants known to be more susceptible to severe illness associated with COVID-19 AND where there is no anticipated direct benefit to those participants, all in person human participant research activities may resume without additional consultation with the Office of Research Assurances (ORA), Human Research Protection Program (HRPP).

If your project targets participants who are more susceptible to developing severe disease associated with COVID-19 and the research does not pose the prospect of direct benefit to your participants, you must continue to consult with the ORA/HRPP and/or the Institutional Review Board (IRB) prior to resuming in person human participant research.

When preparing for a return to in person human participant research, consider the following:

  • Return to in person human participant research is no longer dependent upon a written return to research plan.
  • Any alteration in IRB approved procedures must be approved by the IRB prior to implementation.
  • Any variance from CDC guidance or WSU policy requirement that impacts risks to participants (e.g. forgoing use of masks when unvaccinated) also must be approved by the IRB prior to implementation.

Please visit the Office of Research COVID-19 Guidance page for more information on returning to on-site research.

WSU employees should visit Environmental Health and Safety COVID-19 Work Plan page for updated information on WSU COVID-19 policy.


April 27, 2021
Planning to start or renew an IRB protocol in the summer of Fall of 2021?

Please be aware that the IRB/HRPP Office anticipates reduced staffing levels and reviewer availability between May 1 and August 31, 2021. This will have an impact on our average application processing and review times that may last until early October. Please take this into account and plan ahead whenever possible by submitting your applications at least 30-60 days before your anticipated start date.

If you are submitting a time sensitive projects (e.g. Federally funded with a grant mandated start date), please be sure to communicate your anticipated start date. This helps the IRB office to better organize reviewer assignments and make sure no single reviewer is assigned multiple time sensitive reviews.

Thank you in advance for your help and understanding. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Joe Crossno, Assistant Director, HRPP-Office of Research Assurances.

IRB/HRPP Office Operations Notice:
To combat the spread of COVID-19, the HRPP Office adheres to social distancing recommendations by limiting in person contact and communicating primarily via email or Zoom. We may also be dealing with reduced staffing or out-of-office work at times, and ask for patience during this time. Currently, the best way to contact us is at For additional contact information, please visit our Contacts page.

Support for researchers

We encourage active researcher engagement with IRB staff at any stage of the research process. If you would like to set up a meeting with the HRPP staff, please contact us at Please also include a basic overview of your questions and topics, as well as the days and times when you are available so we can arrange to meet with you via Zoom.