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University of Wisconsin–Madison

ARROW Updates


Results compiled from the 2016 IRB Survey conducted by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education (OVCRGE) indicated that campus researchers urged the need for changes to the online application for research oversight (ARROW).  The Information Technology division of OVCRGE is taking the lead to implement these changes with the primary goal of alleviating administrative burden on the UW research community.

Work is already underway to address PI concerns with the system.  Three recent changes include:

  • We completed an overhaul of the IRB change-of-protocol process – a part of the ARROW interface that multiple survey respondents mentioned was overly confusing and difficult to use.  In response, we have reorganized how the information and reviewer notes are displayed, centralizing everything onto a single workspace.
  • Several redundant questions from the IRB continuing review process have been eliminated.
  • Informed consent forms will no longer expire each year as part of the continuing review process. This means that consent forms will only receive a new approval stamp when they are changed due to a Change of Protocol amendment in ARROW.
  • An import feature allows a PI to automatically fill out parts of their protocol with entries from a prior ARROW submission .
  • The Conflict of Interest section of the IRB Initial Application form has been completely rewritten, eliminating nearly half of the original questions and focusing on compliance-only related questions. In addition, data related to a study team’s managed entities and Outside Activities Reports is now available directly in ARROW.
  • The ARROW servers used for production, development and testing have been moved to DoIT’s new Campus Computing Infrastructure (CCI). This new server environment will allow VCRGE IT to adapt quickly as resource demands for ARROW increase over time. Preliminarily metrics gathered since the migration are promising, showing a 35% decrease in page load wait times throughout the site.

Major updates to ARROW are completed every two months across all research areas that use the ARROW system (IRB, IACUC, Biosafety and SCRO).  Some planned enhancements over the next year include:

  • A “Getting Started” wizard to help researchers during the initial creation of an ARROW application (July).
  • Major revisions to the IRB Initial Application, making it shorter and more user-friendly (Fall).
  • A cleaner, more modern site design (Fall).

To receive future notifications about changes in the ARROW system and other changes motivated by the IRB survey, please send an email message to