RELIANT is seeing an increase in requests from researchers for UW-Madison to serve as the reviewing IRB for multisite studies. Many of these requests are coming to our attention late in the process, often only after study teams have received a high funding score or funding has been awarded. Conducting a study for which you will be serving as the lead site is complex and putting reliance agreements in place with other sites can be time consuming. To better assist you when you are considering asking the UW to serve as the single IRB of record, please do the following:

  • Contact RELIANT ( as soon as you know you are planning to conduct a non-exempt multisite study and do not wait until you have submitted a proposal for funding. This will allow time for us to meet with you to ensure the UW is the best reviewing IRB option for your study and to orient you to the requirements of a lead study team.
  • If your study has no external funding, single IRB review is often not the best option for your study. It is frequently much quicker for each site to obtain their own IRB approval than enter into reliance agreements. Please reach out to RELIANT if you are planning a multisite study that will not have external funding so we can assist you.
  • A reminder that studies that qualify for exemption are not required to use a single IRB review model and the UW will not cede IRB review or serve as the reviewing IRB for such projects. Please contact us if you have questions about conducting multisite exempt research.