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Policy and Procedures


The NIH's mission is to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability (for more information see The NIH's Intramural Research Program (IRP) has a Human Research Protection Program (HRPP) to protect the rights and safeguard the welfare of human subjects who participate in its research studies. The HRPP is made up of NIH Institutes and Centers, NIH officials, NIH Institutional Review Boards, and researchers and staff who conduct and support research involving human subjects.

The intramural NIH HRPP is governed, in part, by a variety of standard operating procedures (SOPs), which can be accessed via the links below. These SOPs generally apply to NIH intramural staff and NIH intramural program activities. They generally do not apply to human subjects research carried out by NIH grantees. For more information on requirements for NIH grantees, see the NIH Office of Extramural Research (OER).

The SOPs are primarily based on the Belmont Report and U.S. Federal Regulations that protect human subjects (45 C.F.R. 46 and applicable FDA regulations under 21 C.F.R. parts 50, 56, 312 and 812). For questions regarding the intramural NIH policies or procedures, contact the Office of Human Subjects Research Protections (OHSRP) at 301-402-3444. Instructions To access an NIH HRPP SOP, click a title below.

IRB Member and Staff Handbook
List of NIH HRPP Policies and Procedures by Topic Public
Introduction to the NIH Human Research Protection Program
SOP 1- HSR and the NIH IRB System
SOP 2 - IRB Membership and Structure
SOP 3 - Management and Administrative Operations of the IRB
Revised as of 2-23-2017! SOP 4 - Human Research Protection Program (HRPP) Documentation and Records
SOP 5 - NIH Research Activities with Human Data/Specimens
SOP 6 - Determinations, Including Exemptions Made by the Office of Human Subjects Research Protections (OHSRP)
Revised as of 2-16-2017! SOP 7 - Requirements for the Ethical and Regulatory Review of Research by NIH Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)
Revised as of 2-16-2017! SOP 7A - Requirements for Expedited Review of Research by NIH Institutional Review Boards
SOP 7B - This policy has been incorporated into SOP 7 - this link is no longer active
SOP 8 - Procedures and Required Documentation for Submission and Initial Review of Protocols
Revised as of 2-17-2017! SOP 9 - Continuing Review by the Convened IRB
SOP 10 - Amendments to IRB-approved Research
SOP 11- Suspensions and Terminations of IRB Approval and Administrative Holds
SOP 11A - Closure of an IRB-approved protocol
SOP 12 -Requirements for Informed Consent
SOP 13 - Recruitment, Selection and Compensation of Research Subjects
Revised as of 2-17-2017! SOP 14A - Research Involving Vulnerable Subjects (General Considerations)
SOP 14B- Research Involving Pregnant Women, Human Fetuses and Neonates
SOP 14C- Research Involving Prisoners
SOP 14D- Research Involving Children
SOP 14E - Research Involving Adults Who Are or May Be Unable to Consent
SOP 14F - Research Involving NIH Staff as Subjects
SOP 15 - Research Regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA): General Procedures for Both IND and IDE Applications
SOP 15A - Research Regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Information and Policies Specific to Research Involving Investigational New Drugs (Including Biological Products)
SOP 15B - Research Regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Information and Policies for Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) Applications
SOP 16 - Reporting Requirements for Unanticipated Problems, Adverse Events and Protocol Deviations
SOP 16A - Allegations of Non-compliance with Requirements of the NIH Human Research Protection Program (HRPP)
SOP 17 - Data and Safety Monitoring
SOP 18 - Privacy and Confidentiality
SOP 19 - Investigator Responsibilities
SOP 20 - NIH HRPP Requirements for Collaborative Research
SOP 20A - Obtaining a Reliance (Authorization) Agreement at the NIH
SOP 20B - NIH IRB Responsibilities When Reviewing Local Context Considerations for Offsite Research
SOP 20C - Responsibilities When the NIH Intramural Research Program Serves as a Coordinating Center for a Multisite Trial or as the IRB of Record for a Non-NIH Coordinating Center
SOP 20D- NIH FWA Coverage for Non-NIH Employees Working on NIH Protocols
SOP 21 - Conflict of Interest Requirements for Researchers and Research Staff
SOP 22 - Research Subject Information and Services and Research-related Complaints from Research Subjects
SOP 23 - Quality Management System for the NIH HRPP
SOP 24 - OHSRP Reporting to the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Regarding Unanticipated Problems, Serious or Continuing Non-compliance or Terminations or Suspensions
SOP 25 - Training Requirements for the NIH Human Research Protection Program (HRPP)
SOP 26 - Evaluation of NIH IRB Chairs, Vice Chairs and Members, IRB Administrative Staff and IRB Committee Activities
SOP 27 - Transfer of Protocols Between Institutional Review Boards (IRBS)
SOP 28 - NIH Public Health Emergency Research Review Board (PHERRB)