The Revised Common Rule
& CUNY HRPP  Implementation

The purpose of this announcement is to provide you with the Human Research Protection Program (HRPP) plans to implement the revised regulations governing research involving human subjects, the Common Rule. We refer to the revised regulations as ‘the revised Common Rule’ throughout this notice.


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and fifteen other Federal Departments and Agencies issued final revisions to the Common Rule, the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects, on January 19, 2017. The implementation was delayed twice in the last year. The final implementation and compliance date is January 21, 2019.

The revised rule is not applicable to FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and DOJ (Department of Justice) regulated research. However, FDA plans to post a notice of draft revised FDA regulations intended to harmonize with the revised rule requirements. If you are involved in the conduct of FDA-regulated research, you should be aware that these changes may be directly applicable to your research in the future.

CUNY published revised HRPP policies, procedures and guidelines on the CUNY HRPP Policies & Procedures website.

This communication addresses the following aspects of the revised Common Rule that may be important to you:

  1. Application of the revised Common Rule to research approved by the IRB prior to the implementation date
  2. Minimal risk research
  3. Exempt research/modified and new exemption categories
  4. Informed consent requirements
  5. Single IRB of Record requirements
1) Application of the revised Common Rule to research approved prior to the implementation date

As of January 21, 2019, ALL applications (not just initial applications) will be processed in accordance to the Common Rule changes. Any applications (i.e., Amendment Requests, Continuing Reviews) submitted for existing IRB-approved projects will be required to update their IRB protocols as per the revised Common Rule. Research approved prior to January 21, 2019 will continue to conduct their pre-2018 IRB-approved research procedures until an Amendment Request or Continuing Review is submitted.

IRB protocols submitting Continuing Reviews for the first time after the implementation of the revised Common Rule, will be asked to submit an Amendment Request so the protocol can be updated as per the new federal changes.

2) Minimal Risk Research

The revised Common Rule allows for most minimal risk research to be conducted without IRB continuing review.

  • The CUNY UI-IRB will NOT require continuing review for applicable minimal risk research approved after January 21, 2019; unless required by the CUNY UI-IRB.
  • Research approved prior to January 21, 2019 with an expiration date:
    • Prior to the protocol’s expiration date, a Continuing Review must be submitted along with an Amendment Request so the applicable changes can be made to the protocol.
    • Upon submitting an Amendment Request, Investigators must update the protocol as per the federal changes. At that point, the CUNY UI-IRB will determine whether the human subject research study can be approved without the requirement for annual IRB review (elimination of expiration date).

Regardless of the continuing review category above, Investigators must still report modifications and reportable new information to the IRB, including, but not limited to, changes in research or study personnel, study closures, events that may constitute noncompliance, and potential unanticipated problems (e.g., involving risks to subject or others).

3) Exempt Research

The revised common rule changed the categories of research that can be deemed exempt. The revised rule includes a new exemption category 3 (i) (A), (B), and (C), which allows for certain benign behavioral interventions to be considered exempt.

Regardless of the exemption category, the requests for exemption determination must be submitted to the HRPP Office via IDEATE per institutional requirements.  Exempt research cannot commence without an HRPP exemption determination from CUNY.

4) Informed Consent Requirements

CUNY UI-IRB will apply additional revised Common Rule consent provisions to new and existing research approved by the IRB after January 21, 2019. 

  • Required changes to consent forms includes a “concise and focused presentation of the key information” at the beginning (as required under §46.116(a) of the revised Common Rule), which must be organized and presented in a way that facilitates comprehension.
  • One new element, added to the basic elements of informed consent at  §46.116(b), requires a notice about whether participants’ private identifiable information, or identifiable biospecimens, collected as part of the current research might be stripped of identifiers and used/shared for future research, OR a clear statement that this will not happen.

New consent templates that reflect the new provisions can be found in the CUNY HRPP Policy website. Since these consent templates are subject to future updates, we recommend you bookmark the website page on your online browsers.

If your new study has been submitted and pending IRB approval on January 21, the consent form submitted does not comply with the new regulatory requirements. An HRPP staff member will work with you to ensure that the new elements are added.

5) Single IRB of Record

The revised rule requires a single IRB to review certain NIH-funded multi-site research. This request can be submitted directly to our office ( via the IRB of Record Request form found here.