Student Researchers

I'm a UVA student interested in conducting my own research project. Do I need IRB approval before I can begin?

Yes. Students conducting human subjects research require IRB approval before they may initiate their project. See Determination of Human Subjects Research to determine if your research meets the definition of Human Subjects Research. Please consult with the IRB staff if you are unsure whether your project constitutes human subjects research.

Can I be listed as the Principal Investigator on the IRB Application?

If you are submitting to the IRB for Health Sciences Research a student may not be the Principal Investigator.  A faculty member or employee of UVA must serve as the Principal Investigator.  The student should be listed as the Study Coordinator.

Should I submit a new IRB application, or be added to my Faculty Advisor's protocol?

When a student's research project consists of the collection and/or analysis of data that is part of the scope of an existing faculty member's IRB approved research, the student can be added as a study team member on the Faculty member's protocol, rather than submitting a new IRB Application. The student must take the required education (see Education).  The Principal Investigator must submit a Personnel Change Form to add the student on as personnel to the study prior to beginning work on the protocol.

Learning Shot: Center for Global Health and the IRB

Additional Tips for Student Researchers

  1. If you plan to conduct research off-site (e.g., non-UVA facility - elementary school, day care center, community center, etc.), at a minimum you will need to obtain written permission from an authority of the site (e.g., Principal, Director, etc.) before IRB approval may be granted.
  2. For international research, allow plenty of time for the IRB approval process. We suggest submitting application materials four to six months ahead of when research is planned to begin.
  3. You might find it helpful to contact an IRB Coordinator prior to preparing your submission. The IRB Coordinators' consultations are provided free of charge, in order to facilitate the submission process.