IRB Reliance (Authorization) Agreements

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Overview

A reliance agreement is a formal, written document that provides a mechanism for an institution engaged in research to delegate institutional review board (IRB) review to an independent IRB or an IRB of another institution. Institutions may use different descriptive terms, e.g., reliance agreement, cooperative agreement, IRB authorization agreement (IAA), or memorandum of understanding (MOU). Agreements may cover single studies, categories of studies, or all human subjects research under an organization’s Federalwide Assurance (FWA). MOUs are generally used when covering an entire research program; reliance agreements are generally used to cover a designated protocol or protocols.

The type of agreement may be based on the nature of established financial, legal, or collaborative relationships between the entities. The HHS Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) sample template uses the term “authorization agreement”; the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses the term “agreement.” The agreement should clearly identify the IRB of record for a protocol or program and the delineation of responsibilities.

IRB Reliance Agreement Templates

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