As academic institutions continue to conduct more complex trials, there comes a commensurate need for more robust institutional review board (IRB) services. And since specific needs differ greatly depending on the study, it is vital that IRB solutions for academic research be tailored to each individual study and institution. When selecting a single IRB, keep an eye out for five major ways personalization can smooth the process:

  1. Speed
    With staffing shortages and other challenges in the way, keeping academic research on schedule can be complex, and it becomes even more difficult as regulatory layers are added. Your timelines must be met, and the unique regulatory needs of your study must be accomplished within an appropriate time frame. When possible, look for IRBs who provide guaranteed turnaround times, like Sterling’s five-day protocol review and 24-hour site review, which indicate a dedication to speed and attention that may prove invaluable to keeping your study on track.

    Another capability to look for is the availability of automated services, like Sterling IRB’s SilverLink. These systems are designed to optimize sponsor, site, and institution workflows with 24/7 submission and downloading of forms and documents. Look for an IRB that has both a range of automated services and the willingness to personally train your team so that you can use them effectively.

  2. Availability
    Prompt answers are a must, not just for the sake of maintaining schedules but also to support trial efficacy. While many IRBs offer lengthy automated telephone menus, more agile organizations like Sterling provide personal service for every client, starting with a dedicated team and contact person. Finding an IRB responsive enough to offer on-demand training and study startup meetings geared to your needs can further enable speed and quality for your trial. These direct contact opportunities ensure consistent responsiveness so your queries and concerns are addressed promptly.

  3. Experience
    Experienced IRBs use the knowledge gained from every previous study to anticipate your specific needs from the start. At Sterling IRB, for example, the journey for each study begins with a welcome packet for institutions, developed through years of IRB experience. Collections of guidance, disclosures, and forms like this can be personalized to your unique study to ensure your first steps are easier, allowing your IRB to focus on more complex regulatory requirements. A seasoned IRB with a history of reviewing different studies from a variety of research institutions is also well equipped to anticipate potential problems, allowing you to swiftly sidestep issues that might otherwise derail your study’s timeline. This is a benefit felt even when regulations shift, as experienced IRBs are often quicker to recognize and implement changes based on a given study’s individual requirements, having done so often in the past.

  4. Access
    When it comes to choosing the right IRB, bigger is not always better. At some large organizations, sheer size means you often do not have access to thought leaders outside of your account team. Look for a more moderate-size IRB that gives you access to accomplished leadership in a variety of therapeutic areas. Sterling IRB, for instance, provides easy and open communication with board members and organization leaders who are top experts in all major therapeutic areas, so you benefit from the full experience of the IRB.

  5. Knowledge
    Every academic institution has its own unique needs and ways of doing things, and having an IRB that knows yours saves time and helps anticipate problems. Experienced IRBs, like Sterling, continually gather data as they provide services, ensuring knowledge gleaned from your previous studies helps inform your future ones. Not only does this allow your IRB to fulfill regulatory requirements faster, but their knowledge of your individual standards lets them anticipate your ongoing needs and responses, ensuring quality service with no time wasted.

When seeking IRB services for academic institution research, it is important to choose a partner who knows both your institution and your study in order to ensure your unique needs are met correctly and swiftly. Seasoned IRBs like Sterling offer personalized service and tailored solutions that keep your study on target and on budget, providing an easier journey through the review process and allowing you to focus on your research. See how Sterling IRB provides the personalization you need at

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