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Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What is VAIRRS?

The VA Innovation and Research Review System (VAIRRS) is the VA's enterprise instance of IRBNet. 

Question:  Who will use VAIRRS?

In addition to the research sites within the VA, VAIRRS will be made available to the Facility Director, VISN, ORO, and ORD.

Question:  Will sites be required to use VAIRRS?

Yes.  Sites will be required to maintain a core data set in the VAIRRS system.

Question: When will VAIRRS be deployed?

VAIRRS will be deployed in a tiered system.  The first tier will be migrated in early 2020.  All sites should be migrated by the end of 2020.

Question: Will VAIRRS be customized to our site's workflows?

VAIRRS will be deployed with a central library of smart forms to support harmonized workflows.  Initially, two smart forms (Cover Sheet and IRB Information Sheet) will be included with additional smart forms planned for future deployment.

Question: Will the new website ( be accessible outside of the VA firewall?

Yes.  VAIRRS is hosted in a vendor-managed, FedRamp compliant, cloud-based environment. At launch, any user can log in with an IRBNet username and password. 

Question: Who should attend the web-based training?

The online webinars are intended for committee staff, and staff from each subcommittee is encouraged to attend. The representatives coming to DC are required to attend the web-based training course. Videos of the webinars will be available in the near future in case someone (other than a superuser) must miss a session.

Question: What will our Forms and Templates libraries contain?

ORPP&E, along with a field-based workgroup, has developed a core library of form and letter templates for each of the committee and subcommittee workspaces in VAIRRS.  As part of your go-live package we will publish a toolkit that contains process flow maps and the core library.

Question: Are any new smart forms going to be added after the sites move to the government cloud?

VAIRRS will initially include two new wizards: The Project Cover Sheet (to replace the current R&D Request to Review form) and the IRB Information Sheet. A continuing review form, closure report, and IACUC information sheet will all be developed within the coming months.

Will IRBNet update the station's ePROMISE records?

Currently the system does not integrate with ePROMISE.  We hope to integrate VAIRSS with other ORD enterprise systems in the near future.

Is there an instruction manual that can be distributed for researchers and/or administrators?  

IRBNet is an intuitive, web-based tool that has instruction and help text available at various places throughout the application. In addition, ORPP&E will provide workflow process maps and training resources for your site.

Will each institution have their own specific templates for their forms?

ORPP&E, along with a field-based workgroup, has developed a core library of form and letter templates for each of the committee and subcommittee workspaces in IRBNet. However, IRBNet supports the ability for you to upload your own supplemental forms (such as if a particular form or template is required to support state or local regulations) via the Library Manager.

Does ORPP&E have guidance on how each of the smart form questions should be answered?

ORPP&E designed the smart forms to be as straightforward as possible. In most cases, the researchers only have to answer simple "Yes" or "No" questions. After you transition to VAIRRS, ORPP&E will be reviewing feedback on the smart forms from the research community. If a question seems to be producing inconsistent answers or is causing confusion among your researchers, please let us know.

Our site has installed the "Skype for Business" add-on for Internet Explorer. Can we use this add-on with IRBNet?

There is a known issue with the "Skype for Business" add-on for Internet Explorer that affects users who create rich-text content that includes phone numbers. In IRBNet, this primarily affects administrative users who draft decision letters in the rich-text editor. Microsoft has not yet released an update to address this issue. If possible, we recommend that staff who edit letters disable the add-on or use an alternate browser.

Will VAIRRS work with Internet Explorer, or must we use Chrome? 

IRBNet is compatible with all major browsers, including Internet Explorer, Chrome, Edge, and Firefox.

Does IRBNet link to TMS/CITI?

Yes, IRBNet supports the integration of TMS and CITI so that records can be automatically created for users who link their IRBNet accounts to TMS or CITI. TMS Integration is not yet available.  

Questions about the R&D website? Email the Web Team.

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.