Faculty sponsors hold an important role in guiding students who are planning or are in the process of submitting IRB applications. They are often actively involved in the student’s research, from protocol design to data analysis and report preparation. Faculty sponsors should provide recommendations about research design aimed at reducing the risk to human subjects, while also serving as a point of contact for human subject concerns and questions.
A faculty sponsor is required on all student Institutional Review Board (IRB) protocols.
Typically, a faculty sponsor can be:
A faculty sponsor is required on all student IRB protocols.
IRB administrators rely on faculty sponsors to guide students through research methods specific to the field of study and to stay informed regarding the rules and regulations governing research at this institution.
A faculty sponsor guides a student by:
Faculty sponsors typically:
When a student researcher submits a new protocol on TC Mentor IRB, they will be prompted to select a faculty sponsor from an auto-populated list (students should search via their last name). Once a protocol is submitted, the faculty sponsor will then be sent a Faculty Sponsor Notification from TC Mentor IRB, asking them to accept the faculty sponsor role for the student’s IRB protocol. Your faculty sponsor will also be able to see your protocol. Please note, this notification should not be the first time your faculty sponsor sees your protocol. Faculty sponsors can “accept” or “reject” the role. Faculty sponsors must approve a student’s IRB protocol before the IRB reviewers can see it. If the role is rejected, faculty sponsors are asked to follow up with the student researcher on the next steps. Please see TC IRB's How to Accept: Faculty Sponsor Guide for detailed instructions.
All study team members, including faculty sponsors, must complete the required human subjects Training & Certification before the conduct or supervision of student research. Training is valid for a three-year period, after which time a refresher course must be taken. Please make sure that all members’ TC Mentor IRB profiles (including the student and faculty sponsor) are updated with the latest CITI training certificate.
After an IRB protocol is approved, all study team members should be provided with a copy of the approved protocol, and be trained specifically to approved protocol requirements and processes.
Students should be in frequent communication with their faculty sponsor during all stages of protocol development and submission. Faculty sponsors are the best point of contact for questions regarding ethical conduct, research design, review categories, and IRB procedures. When in doubt, students should defer to their faculty sponsor’s advice. Please make sure to reach out to your faculty sponsor before bringing questions to the IRB.