New Researcher Information - VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System
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VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System

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New Researcher Information

Are you interested in conducting research at VAPHS for the first time? Or are you planning to submit a new project? Here you will find basic information regarding the submission process from start to finish.

Please note: This page is intended for investigators who have already secured funding or those with unfunded projects. If you are planning to submit for funding, please contact Stephanie Partee to schedule a meeting with the Associate Chief of Staff for Research.

1. Are you conducting research?

  1. Does the project you are proposing constitute research? In order to constitute research both of the following must be true:
    (a) The activity is a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation
    (b) The activity is designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.
  2. If the answer to both of these questions is yes, is this research being conducted by VA investigators on VA time, utilizing VA resources, or being conducted on VA property?
  3. If the answer to "b" is yes, proceed to Step 2.
  4. If the answer to "a" or "b" is no, review by a VAPHS Research Review Committee is not necessary.
  5. If you are uncertain as to whether or not the proposed activity constitutes research, please visit the Human Research page and refer to the QA/QI project section for additional guidance.

2. Employment, Training, and Credentialing Verification

In order to conduct research at VAPHS, all staff must hold VA appointments (Without Compensation (WOC), VA full-time or part-time, and must be appropriately trained and credentialed. Contact Stephanie Partee to initiate this process.

3. Submission to Subcommittee(s)

All research must be reviewed by at least one of the VAPHS Research and Development Committee subcommittees. There are 4 subcommittees charged with the review of research at VAPHS: The Institutional Review Board (IRB), the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC), and the Research Scientific Evaluation Committee (RSEC). Please see below for additional information regarding your next steps:

  1. For Animal Research being submitted to the VAPHS IACUC: Please contact Beth Toth.
  2. For Human Subjects Research utilizing the VA Central IRB: Please contact Kathy Parks.
  3. For Human Subjects Research projects utilizing the VAPHS IRB: You must register for a ProSPECT account. ProSPECT is the online submission system used for Human Subjects Research and projects which require a not human subjects determination. To Register, access ProSPECT. Please note that ProSPECT is only accessible via VPN and/or government issued equipment as it is housed behind the VA firewall. Specific questions regarding ProSPECT may be directed to the ProSPECT Support Team. Initial questions regarding the submission process may be directed to the IRB Staff.
  4. If your project contains both animal and human subjects components please register for ProSPECT and contact Beth Toth.
  5. If you believe your project is research, but does not involve human subjects or animal subjects, you will need to submit to the VAPHS IRB for a not human subjects determination. These projects are submitted via ProSPECT. You must register for a ProSPECT account to initiate your submission. Initial questions regarding the submission process may be directed to the IRB Staff.

4. Project Review and Determination

The appropriate review committee(s) will evaluate your submission and make a determination regarding the status of your project.

5. R&D Committee Review

Once your project is approved by the appropriate subcommittee(s), it will be forwarded to the R&D Committee for approval.

6. Associate Chief of Staff for Research and Development (ACOS/R&D) notification

The ACOS for Research and Development or his/her designee must ensure that you have received all appropriate approvals. You will be notified in writing (by the ACOS) when all approvals have been granted. At that time you may initiate your project.