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Venture Grants

Your Venture Grant may or may not require you to interact with the IRB. The Venture Grant homepage is being updated to provide more information on the IRB, including a link to this page. The IRB section of the Venture Grant online application form is also being updated to help you determine whether you need to go through the IRB or not.

The IRB does not review Venture Grants or answer Venture Grant-related questions unless they are specifically about the IRB aspect of a Venture Grant proposal. Do not send Venture Grants to the IRB Chair for review, as those materials will not be reviewed and you will lose precious time in moving forward. All Venture Grant-related questions not specifically about the IRB process must go to the Provost's Advisory Committee (PAC) or its staff.

Students must complete the IRB process before their Venture Grants are reviewed by the PAC. If the PAC does not have evidence of the IRB having either approved or exempted a student's IRB proposal when they review the Venture Grant application, the Venture Grant application will be tabled until the following month, which may mean that you lose your chance to receive a Venture Grant.

If your Venture Grant project does not involve interacting with people, it does not require IRB approval or exemption. For example, if your Venture Grant involves an exploration of nature and does not involve getting information from people, you do not need to interact with the IRB at all. The same is true with projects only involving books or similar materials.

If your project is strictly a matter of personal interest and will not involve applying for academic credit or a grade, or using project findings for a major or minor senor thesis, it does not require IRB review because such a project is not considered research by the federal government. For your project to be research as defined by the federal government, you need to intend to contribute to generalizable academic knowledge. That said, you may benefit from contacting IRB Chair Amanda Udis-Kessler in order to verify that your project is not research so that she can inform the PAC.

Many Venture Grant projects that involve interacting with people require relatively little IRB engagement. There are two categories that your project is likely to fall into even if it is not strictly a personal interest project. The first of these is academic research that the federal government recently decided should not be treated as research. The second is one of the federal exemptions, the one called the interaction research exemption. Both of these categories are explained on the IRB homepage and forms for them can be found there.

 If you have any questions, or if the Provost's Advisory Committee asks you to check with the IRB about a project, please contact Amanda Udis-Kessler.

If your Venture Grant project will be taking place abroad, please also review the IRB information about international research projects.

If your Venture Grant information collection is for your senior thesis and your project requires a full IRB application (because it is research as defined by the government and it is not exempt), your thesis advisor must review and approve your IRB proposal before the IRB will review it. The first page of the IRB application form provides information about the language your advisor should use.

If your Venture Grant information collection is simply for your own personal growth and edification, you do not need a faculty member to sign off on the application.