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Participating Institutions
including all CTSA hubs



Five Steps to Join

SMART IRB Agreement (v2.0) became available on October 1, 2020; as of this date, any new signatory institution will sign the Joinder Agreement for SMART IRB Agreement v2.0. SMART IRB Agreement Version 1 is compatible with Version 2.0; Participating Institutions that have signed v1 are not required to sign SMART IRB Agreement Version 2.0. Participating Institutions that wish to sign the updated Agreement to facilitate collaboration with NIH Intramural Research Program (IRP) investigators should log in or create an account in the Joinder system to get started.

Please note: Proposed SMART IRB Reliance Agreement Version 3.0 was available for review and comment from November 15, 2023 - February 15, 2024. Once finalized, Version 3.0 will replace Versions 2.0 and 1.0. Learn more about the proposed revision and the transition process.

Review the Agreement

Review the agreement with institution officials and counsel, as appropriate.

Do not sign the sample Joinder Agreement. You will use the SMART IRB Joinder platform to generate your institution-specific Joinder Agreement.

Create an Account

Each user must start the joinder process by creating an account.

  • This should be completed by an IRB administrator or research compliance personnel.
  • You will receive an email requesting verification of the email address you provide.
  • Upon email verification, you will be able to access Joinder and update your institution details.

Add to your email contacts to ensure that the verification email does not end up in spam.

Generate your institution's Agreement.

Each user must start the joinder process by creating an account.

  • Complete and submit the Institution Details form.
  • A SMART IRB representative will review your Institution Details Form and contact you with any questions. You will receive an email upon verification. Your Agreement is then ready to be downloaded for signing.

Check your spam folder if you don't receive a verification email.

To continue editing a saved form log in to Joinder.

Sign and Submit Agreement

Download the pre-populated Joinder Agreement that you generated in step 3.

  • Obtain the signature of your Institution Official.
  • Log in to Joinder to upload and submit the signed document.

A SMART IRB representative will review your Joinder Agreement and contact you with any questions. To join a second institution, add a new institution on your dashboard and proceed to step 3.

Wait for Activation

You must wait until you receive an email confirming your institution's activation as a SMART IRB Participating Institution.

Note: Joining SMART IRB does not obligate an institution to participate in any research or agree to a reliance arrangement. Signatory officials may use electronic/digital signatures to execute the Joinder Agreement; by joining SMART IRB you document your acceptance of this practice.

SMART IRB accommodates domestic human subjects regulations and, at this time, does not support Veterans Affairs sites or International Institutional Review Boards/Independent Ethics Committees.

Questions? We're here to help.

Investigators & Study Teams: Access Online Reliance System

Submit and track reliance requests.

IRB/HRPP Staff: Access Joinder

Access Joinder to Join the SMART IRB Agreement or update institution information.

Institution Points of Contact: request institutional access to the Online Reliance System.

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