International Research Guidance

These guidance materials were created by the Washington University International Research with Human Subjects Committee and provide detailed instructions on the human subjects requirements for conducting international research.

International Human Subjects Research Guidance

This document provides comprehensive guidance on the IRB review requirements for international research and outlines the responsibilities of the researchers.

International Human Subjects Research Guidance

International Prep Work Checklists

The researcher is responsible for completing all requirements that apply to their international research project.  The International Research Prep Work Checklist provides valuable information on the requirements that must be completed prior to submitting the study to the WU IRB.   Completing these tasks prior to WU IRB submission will avoid delays with IRB review and approval.

Behavioral International Research Prep Work Checklist

Biomedical International Research Prep Work Checklist

Flow chart – Do I need a Local Context Advisor or approval from a Foreign IRB/Ethics Committee?

This flow chart outlines when a local context advisor review or foreign IRB/Ethics Committee review is required.  This decision point hinges on the requirements of the country in which the research will be conducted, the type of research and funding source, if any.

Flow chart – Do I need a Local Context Advisor or approval from a Foreign IRB/Ethics Committee?

Oversight of International Collaborators

Consent Language

There may be times when certain language must be included in the consent form even if a foreign IRB is responsible for the review of the consent form.

Consent Template Language – COC and GDPR (log in required)

  • Certificate of Confidentiality (COC)
    Include COC template language when a study is covered under a COC.  For more information about COC requirements and applicability, refer to the resources available on the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research website.
  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
    Language about GDPR protections should be in the consent when there is a transfer of personal data collected from citizens of the EEA (most countries in Europe including the United Kingdom) and transferred outside of Europe.   See the International Human Subjects Research guidance document for more information.
  • Key Information
    A key information section in the consent form is required when a study receives federal funds and the study is NOT exempt.
    The research guide includes instructions on how to write a key information section.




Questions?  Contact our International Research HRPO Partners Erin Higgs or Mitchell Saulisbury-Robertson, or Cindy Brantmeier, PhD.

Virtual consultations to discuss International Research and IRB requirements are available.

Cindy Brantmeier, PhD

Professor – Faculty Fellow, International Research
Office of Vice Chancellor for Research

Director – Applied Linguistics
Washington University in St. Louis, USA



Erin Higgs

Expedited Review Specialist


Mitchell Saulisbury-Robertson

Assistant Director of Social Behavioral Research &
Expedited Review