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Reliance Agreements

    IRB Policy & Guidance
    IRB Authorization Agreements (Reliance Agreements)
    Federalwide Assurances
    Information for Study Participants & the Public
    Clinical Trials at Partners

  • Reliance Agreements

    ​A Reliance Agreement, also referred to as an IRB Authorization Agreement, allows the IRB of one institution to rely on the IRB of another institution for review o​​f human subjects research.  The scope of the reliance agreement may be limited to a specific protocol or to any protocol agreed upon by both parties on a case-by-case basis.  The following information is provided about requesting reliance on another institution for IRB review under an existing reliance agreement or requesting a new reliance agreement.

    Existing Multiple Protocol Reliance Agreements

    Partners Institutions​

    Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), Faulkner Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), McLean Hospital (McLean) and North Shore Medical Center (NSMC) have all executed reliance agreements that allow them to rely on the Partners IRBs for review of human subjects research.  The Partners IRBs are the IRBs registered to BWH, MGH and McLean.  Newton-Wellesley Hospital and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital have executed reliance agreements with BWH and MGH so that they may rely on a single IRB for review of collaborative research with BWH and/or MGH.

    ​Dana Farber Cancer Institute

    BWH and MGH have executed a reliance agreement with Dana Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) that allows BWH and MGH to rely on the DFCI IRB for review of certain oncology research.  

    Harvard Catalyst Member Institutions​

    Harvard Catalyst member institutions may request to rely on one another for IRB review of multi-site human subjects research.  To submit a Harvard Catalyst Cede Review Request, use your eCommons login/password to login and complete the online Cede Review Form on the Catalyst website Note: You may request an eCommons login/pas​​sword through the Catalyst website if you don’t have one.

    Independent IRBs (Commercial IRBs)​

    BWH and MGH have executed reliance agreements with certain independent IRBs that allow BWH and MGH to rely on the independent IR​B for review of industry-sponsored multi-site Phase III/IV clinical trials.

    New Reliance Agreements​

    Requests for a new reliance agreement to rely on another institution for IRB review or to allow another institution or independent investigator to rely on the Partners IRB for IRB review are considered on a case-by-case basis.

    For more information or questions about Reliance Agreements, contact Maria Sundquist, Assistant Director External IRB Programs, at or 857-282-1902​​.