COVID-19 Guidelines

Are there any COVID-19 restrictions or safety precautions for in-person research activities?

There are no current* COVID-19 safety protocols in effect for in-person research.

You do not need to:

  • Align COVID-19 safety protocols with current UNE Onward guidance.
  • Make an attestation within the research protocol that you will adhere to all current UNE Onward COVID‑19 protocols for the duration of the research project.
  • Use the Participant Screening Questionnaire when recruitment involves participants over 65 years of age.
*COVID-19 safety protocols are subject to change based on future CDC recommendations.

Faculty Advisors

What is my role as a faculty advisor?


  • The Faculty Advisor (FA) and the student share the responsibility for the ethical conduct of student research.
  • The FA is responsible for ensuring that research activities involving human subjects are reviewed and approved by the UNE IRB before they are initiated.
  • The FA is expected to take an active role in student research activities and provide supervision for the duration of the project.
  • The FA is professionally responsible for all research activities and must review, approve, and sign the student’s research protocol prior to submission to the IRB.
  • When an FA signs a student’s protocol application, they commit to meeting their responsibilities as outlined in this guidance.


  1. Take an active role.
    From the time a student researcher begins to prepare their research proposal for submission, to the time the student has completed their research, the FA is expected to serve an active role throughout the entire process. This includes assisting students when they are presented with questions and comments from the IRB during the review process.
  2. Be informed of IRB requirements.
    Contact the IRB to discuss policies and procedures for obtaining IRB review before the student initiates any research activities. FAs are expected to be familiar with the institutional requirements for the conduct of human subjects research.
  3. Complete the required CITI Training.
    FAs are expected to be familiar with the ethical and regulatory requirements pertaining to research with human subjects.
  4. Know what must be reviewed.
    Any research with human subjects at UNE, and/or conducted by any UNE personnel, requires some level of review/determination from the IRB. If you are unsure about what level of review the student’s planned activities will require, it is your responsibility to contact the IRB for guidance.
  5. Assist students with protocol submission.
    When proposed activities constitute research with human subjects, it is the responsibility of the FA to assist students in preparing and reviewing materials to be submitted for IRB review and ensuring that the submission meets the requirements for review as indicated in the protocol form. FAs are responsible for reviewing the scientific integrity of the project, as well as ensuring that all requested materials are present in a submission and that such materials are of reviewable quality.
  6. Educate students.
    FAs are responsible for communicating to the student the role of the IRB and the ethical importance of research review. Students must also complete the required CITI training for human subjects research prior to submitting an application to the IRB.
  7. Maintain high ethical standards.
    FAs ensure that projects are conducted to the highest ethical standards and that students understand and implement these ethical standards in the conduct of the research.
  8. Help students navigate the IRB process.
    FAs contact the IRB to determine what the requirements are for submission to the IRB and help students to understand the UNE IRB process. FAs should serve as the primary contact between the IRB and the student researcher.
  9. Oversee changes.
    FAs should ensure that before a change is initiated to an approved protocol, an amendment outlining the proposed changes has been approved by the IRB. All changes/amendment submissions must be reviewed and signed by the FA before submission to the IRB.
  10. Report any adverse events or other research-related problems to the IRB as soon as possible.
  11. Ensure that continuing review requirements are satisfied when applicable.
  12. Ensure that the study is closed at the conclusion of the study.

Download Faculty Advisor Roles and Responsibilities

Do I need to apply for a student classroom project exclusion?

If you are a faculty member who will be teaching a course involving research methods or classroom data collection activities via interaction with others you must submit a Student Classroom Project Exclusion for review 2 weeks prior to the course starting.

Please refer to the Student Classroom Project Guidelines (PDF) for frequently asked questions about this topic.

CITI Training

What CITI training should I take? How can I renew my CITI certification?

CITI IRB Registration and Training Course Instructions

Registration Instructions
  1. Go to the CITI homepage and click on “Register” in the upper right corner.
  2. Under Add Affiliation, type University of New England and then provide the rest of the required information. Enter at least one email address (does not need to be a UNE email).
  3. Select "no" on item 6, CME/CUE credits (unless you wish to obtain CME/CEU credits).
  4. Once all the information is input, click "select" and follow any remaining instructions.
Training Course Instructions

Unless informed otherwise, only one training course is necessary. CITI training is valid for four (4) years from the date of course completion.

If this is your first time taking CITI training, you will need to take one of the courses under question 1 in the registration process:

  • If you will collect data through interviews, surveys, educational or psychometric tests, or observations of non-public behavior, take the Social and Behavioral Research Investigators course. 
  • If you are using only existing data, take the Data or Specimens Only Research course. 
  • If you plan to collect biomedical data, or biometric or physical data from participants (e.g. blood or saliva sampling, blood pressure, weight, timing movements, or measuring performance on a physical task), take the Biomedical Research Investigators course. 

If you have taken CITI training before, you will need to take one of the courses under question 2 in the registration process:

  • If you will collect data through interviews, surveys, educational or psychometric tests, or observations of non-public behavior, take the Social and Behavioral Research Investigators course. 
  • If you are using only existing data, take the Data or Specimens Only Research course. 
  • If you plan to collect biomedical data, or biometric or physical data from participants (e.g. blood or saliva sampling, blood pressure, weight, timing movements, or measuring performance on a physical task), take the Biomedical Research Investigators course.

Generally, you do not need to take any of the training offered under Questions 5, 6, or 7. 

If you are dealing with animals, recombinant DNA, or if you receive federal funds for your study (e.g. an NSF or NIH grant) questions 5–7 may apply to you. Otherwise, where there is an option to answer “no” or “not at this time” to these questions, please select that option.

If you have any questions about the CITI registration or which training courses you need to take, please contact the Director of Research Integrity at or (207) 602-2244.

Download the CITI IRB Registration and Training Course Instructions

Research and Levels of Review

What is research?

The federal human subjects protection regulations defines research as:

"A systematic investigation*, including research development, testing, and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge**."

*Is there a question to be answered? Will data be collected and analyzed to answer that question?

**An activity intended to obtain knowledge that may be applied to populations outside of the specific study population.

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Does my project constitute human subjects research?

If you are in doubt about whether your proposed project constitutes human subjects research that requires IRB review and oversight, please submit a Research Determination Request Form (PDF) for evaluation before the project is initiated. The Office of Research Integrity (ORI) will issue you a formal determination letter indicating whether the proposed work is or is not human subjects research.

If the project has already started or has been completed, ORI cannot retrospectively issue a research determination letter.

What are the different levels of review for human subjects research?

There are four levels of review for human subjects research:

  1. Administrative
    • Reviewed by the Office of Research Integrity (ORI)
  2. Exempt
    • Exempt projects are reviewed by ORI using the Belmont Report ethical principles
  3. Expedited
    • Expedited review applied to specific categories of research with no more than minimal risk. One IRB member typically reviews studies using the federal IRB approval criteria.
  4. Full Board
    • All studies that do not qualify as exempt or expedited must be reviewed by the full board via the federal IRB approval criteria. Additionally, the full board is tasked with the review of all greater than minimal risk studies.

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What is minimal risk research?

The probability and magnitude of harm or discomfort in the research are not greater than those ordinarily encountered in daily life or during the performance of routine psychological examinations or tests.

What is the difference between exempt and non-exempt research?

Exempt Research

  • Reviewed by the Office of Research Integrity
  • Research must fit within one or more of the six allowable exemption categories at UNE
  • Research is low risk
  • Most social, behavioral, and educational research qualifies as exempt
  • Common examples include research involving interviews, focus groups, and surveys
  • Issued an exemption determination letter

Non-Exempt Research

  • Reviewed by the IRB
  • All research that does not qualify as exempt
  • Minimal risk research projects are typically reviewed by one IRB member. This process is called an expedited review.
  • Greater than minimal risk research projects are reviewed by the entire committee at a convened IRB meeting. This process is called full board review.
  • Biomedical research involving an intervention is often non-exempt
  • Issued an approval letter

What are the six exemption categories recognized at UNE?

A description of each of the six categories is available in Appendix A of the Application for Exempt Research Projects.

Submissions and Decisions

I do not have approval or exemption for a project that I have already completed. Can I still submit my project for IRB review?

No. Retrospective exemption or approval letters cannot be issued for projects that were not submitted for review prior to the project being initiated.

How far in advance should I submit my application for review?

If Administrative Review is Required

New Exempt Research Projects

  • New Exempt Research projects should be submitted 4-6 weeks prior to the anticipated research start date.

Non-Exempt Research Projects

  • Expedited Review is reserved for minimal-risk research that does not qualify for exempt review (see six exempt categories above). Applications should be submitted 1 month prior to the anticipated start date of the project.
  • Full Board Review is reserved for greater than minimal risk research and is reviewed by the full IRB committee. Applications should be submitted at least 2 months prior to the anticipated start date of the project to account for multiple review cycles as deemed necessary by the convened board (see ‘deferral’ FAQ below).


  • Amendments involving only key personal changes are typically processed within 3 business days assuming the application is complete and all required supplemental material has been submitted. All other amendments should be submitted 2-4 weeks prior to the anticipated start date (depending on the complexity of the requested changes).

My non-exempt research project was reviewed by the full board and the IRB issued a deferral. What does that mean?

Deferral means that the convened board was not able to determine that the federal IRB approval criteria for research were met. The full board can issue a deferral when:

  • The IRB doesn’t have enough information about the study, and subsequently cannot tell the investigator what details need to be confirmed in order to secure approval; and/or
  • The IRB requires substantive changes/actions that cannot be relayed to the investigator in a directive or prescriptive manner.

A deferral means that the investigator’s response must come back to the full board for review at a convened IRB meeting.

The approval letter issued for my non-exempt research project specifies an expiration date. What does that mean?

If your project was assigned an expiration date, this means you will need to submit an Application for Renewal 60 days prior to the project’s expiration date listed on the current approval letter.

If approval lapses for more than 60 days, the IRB will not accept an Application for Renewal. Instead, you will need to submit a Study Closure Report Form and a new Application for Non-Exempt Research Projects for review.

What do I need to do at the conclusion of my research project?

A Study Closure Report Form is required to be submitted for non-exempt research projects only. Please submit this form when you are no longer:

  • Obtaining data through interaction or intervention with participants; and/or
  • Collecting, using, or analyzing identifiable private data about participants.

When the research project concludes — whether by withdrawal, termination, completion, or otherwise — you must submit a Study Closure Report Form within 30 days.

Full Board Schedule

What are the upcoming meeting dates for full board review?

Full Board Review is reserved for Non-Exempt Research that is greater than minimal risk. The full board is scheduled to meet on the following dates at 2 p.m. (unless specified otherwise):

  • Wednesday, January 11, 2023
  • Wednesday, February 8, 2023
  • Wednesday, March 8, 2023
  • Wednesday, April 12, 2023
  • Wednesday, May 10, 2023
  • Wednesday, June 14, 2023
  • Wednesday, July 12, 2023
  • Wednesday, August 9, 2023
  • Wednesday, September 13, 2023
  • Wednesday, October 11, 2023
  • Wednesday, November 8, 2023
  • Wednesday, December 13, 2023

If you are submitting a project to be reviewed at one of the above meeting dates, the complete submission must be received at least 14 days prior to the scheduled meeting date. Submissions arriving after the submission deadlines above will be reviewed at the next month's scheduled meeting.