After processing your proposal, the IRB Coordinator will forward it to the Chair, who has been designated by the IRB as Initial Reviewer. He assigns the proposal to one of three categories:
Level I: Exempt (from full review) (no foreseeable risk),
Level II: Expedited Review (minimal risk) (and reviewed by a second member of the Board)
Level III: Full Board Review (more than minimal risk and/or protected subjects).
An Expedited Reviewer is chosen by the Chair to conduct expedited reviews. If the Initial Reviewer wishes to submit his or her own proposal to the IRB, it is sent to the Expedited Reviewer. If the Expedited Reviewer submits his or her own proposal to the IRB, it is not eligible for expedited review. Much research projects falls into the Exempt category, requiring no further review beyond the initial review level. Those proposals that the Initial Reviewer decides require Expedited Review will be forwarded to an Expedited Reviewer. Proposals judged by the Initial Reviewer to require Full review will be forwarded to the IRB Committee, and the IRB as a whole will perform the review.
All research proposals evaluated by the Initial Reviewer, the Expedited Reviewer, or the full IRB Committee are done so with regard to the degree of “risk,” if any, to human subjects.