What’s New With ESTR?


The eIRB submission system, ESTR, will be upgraded Friday, October 16 at noon through Monday, October 19 at 6AM, and will be unavailable during this time. Please make your plans accordingly. You will not be able to create or view submissions during this downtime. Current application documents can be downloaded ahead of time from ESTR, or anytime from the OHRA website. For a list of changes and new features, as well as current job aids and training information, please visit the ESTR Support Site. Overall, Faculty and Staff will observe minimal changes to the current ESTR experience.

The main new features are:

  • Submitting
    • The PI will submit new studies directly to the IRB, as usual; however any required reviews by Faculty Sponsors and/or Department Chairs will occur in parallel with the IRB review rather than as an additional submission step.
    • A PI with an approved study may designate one or more proxy who can submit modifications and continuing reviews for that study on the PI’s behalf.
  • Communicating
    • A new comment/notification process will provide an efficient alternative to emails among study staff (e.g., a coordinator can notify the PI within ESTR that an application is ready to submit) and between study staff and the IRB.
    • Study staff members who wish to make changes after submitting can themselves transition the submission back to an editable state, rather than wait for the IRB.
  • Streamlining/Clarification
    • Unnecessary questions have been removed from the SmartForm, notably for requests to cede review and for continuing review.
    • Forms, templates, questions, and attachment prompts have been reworded and rearranged.

Changes to the system will not alter any IRB policies or the human subjects research application requirements.

During the upgrade, users with a submission that is actively being reviewed may be required to supply additional information.

Re-visit this site in early October to view additional details about the upgrade or contact Kim Serpico at kserpico@hsph.harvard.edu with any questions or concerns.